As Americans, we have the opportunity and privilege of voting. Not only is it our right, it is our duty. It’s a simple yet powerful act. A single vote has decided an election numerous times in small and large cities, in urban and suburban areas, and on the East and West coasts. Want recent proof?
In 2019, a Boston City Council race was decided by a single vote, with Julia Mejia beating Alejandra St. Guillen 22,492 votes to 22,491 votes.
A Hickory, North Carolina, council primary in 2019 ended in a tie and, as a result, was decided by a coin flip.
Think about it — the outcomes of those elections would’ve been different had one person not voted because they believed their vote didn’t matter, or they didn’t think they knew enough about the issues. Every vote matters, and that’s especially true in local elections.
This upcoming November election is about so much more than the presidential race. You will also be deciding among seven candidates vying for two positions on the Tigard City Council. I am grateful to the seven candidates — Ben Edtl, Ethan Erickson, David “Jerry” Hahn, Heidi Lueb, Jeanette Shaw, Marc Woodard and Kevin Wright — for embracing this leadership opportunity.
I believe that the city council election is the most important choice on the ballot. (Yes, I actually said that.) Simply put, the city has a greater influence on your day-to-day life than any other governmental entity.
The Tigard City Council knows what the community needs during an emergency. During COVID-19, we have been on the frontlines in hearing about what the community needs and acting to address these needs. We responded by supporting local businesses with Tigard CARES, utility customers with Tigard AID, and nonprofits that serve vulnerable community members with Tigard RAFT.
The Tigard City Council is responsible for services that directly affect your life — like drinking water, parks and trails, streets and sidewalks, and public safety. As questions and concerns grew nationally about policing, we heard from more than 500 community members about ensuring a George Floyd-type incident does not happen in Tigard. Your city council responded immediately by creating a Public Safety Advisory Board that will systematically and thoughtfully review our policing practices over the next 12 to 18 months.
The Tigard City Council is responsible for wisely spending your money. In 2019, we completed a performance audit of city services and created a City Report Card to communicate our successes and challenges. This is important because there are examples of cities where elected officials failed in their fiduciary responsibilities, leading to short- and long-term challenges, including the elimination of services.
You should consider these immense community responsibilities when you vote for council candidates.
Voting is easy. Registered voters will begin receiving ballots on Wednesday, Oct. 14. You can return your ballot by mail, or find an official election drop box (there’s one in the City Hall parking lot). The last day that you can mail your ballot is Wednesday, Oct. 28. After this date, ballots must be put into an official election drop box.
Your opportunity and privilege to be involved in our powerful democracy doesn’t end with voting. I invite you to apply to join one of our five boards and committees that are recruiting new members.
I welcome the chance to discuss these opportunities with you. As always, I can be reached at [email protected] or via phone at (503) 810-0269.