It is now certain that the Nathaniel Jones campaign has won the approval of the voters. So with humility and respect for the electoral process I declare victory in this contest and look forward to the task of representing the people of Olympia as part of a new Council in January 2012.
The Committee to Elect Nathaniel Jones has stayed on message, talking about the significant public policy issues facing our city. We spoke to citizens’ deep-felt concerns for downtown, the meaning of leadership, the value of neighborhood organizations in city planning, and the importance of working regionally to address critical challenges. We acknowledged a worsening budget calamity and the need for a community understanding of the challenges facing our city. We have called for conditions which restore respect for the City Council and which heighten expectations for what the Council can accomplish. We have campaigned calmly and vigorously, with civility. I’m proud of our work.
Our campaign worked hard and we reached many people. We drew volunteers into the local political process who had never participated before. We received a huge number of small contributions. We moved many to participate in something larger than themselves.
That also holds true for the campaign volunteers who took time away from family and other priorities to invest in our community, to do good work, to host a house party or pound in a sign, to write a letter or make phone calls. The Jones campaign volunteers are caring people who have a clear idea of what good governance looks like and are willing to work for it…for the sake of our community and its future.
My personal journey through this campaign has been thrilling. I have learned so much about the people who make up our community. I have a new appreciation and respect for our citizens. We are blessed with bright, caring, and resilient people who believe that they can make a difference. Even though Olympia is facing huge challenges and those challenges will frustrate us for many years to come, I am more optimistic now than I was when I started this run for office.
As I look forward, I see a new paradigm for the Olympia City Council, a new understanding of what leadership means. I see a Council which has found new ways to work together, new ways to engage the public, and new ways to work regionally. With this election we have changed the public’s expectations of what is possible; we have laid the framework for better governance and a better City of Olympia. We will build upon our strengths, protect our beautiful natural setting, cleanup and reinvest in our downtown, and support our small local businesses. We will face our challenges, and we will meet them.
It is clear to me that Olympia’s bright future will not result from the actions of just a few council members and a few City staff who will decide what happens next. Quite the contrary, we will only succeed with broad public engagement and input. This great city will be in a position for success when citizens are convinced that their investment of time and energy matters; that the city is listening and acting on the will of the people, that public input will become public policy.
I am humbled by the trust which has been placed in me as one of Olympia’s newest council members. I am filled with gratitude for the great team of volunteers who have been so very helpful to me over these past months. I ask the people of Olympia to work with me and other members of the City Council as we move forward in uncertain times to bring our city to a new and brighter place where all concerns are addressed, opportunities seized, and energy harnessed, to create a better future, together.