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July 20, 2022
I feel like I’m starting to find my stride again. It took a minute to adjust to this new stage of the campaign: get out the vote. We’re only four weeks away from the election. It’s crazy how quickly time has passed. Before I know it, Election Day will be here!!
Running for City Commission has been such a journey. I used to be the kind of person that sat in the back of the room, took notes, and didn’t talk due to insecurity. Now, I’m actively introducing myself to people, making pitches, and going into other candidates “territories” without fear. I feel like this whole journey has helped me become a stronger, more adaptive, resilient, and brave woman.
This journey also forced me to confront two of my worst habits — hoarding work instead of distributing it to others & letting “good” be the enemy of perfect. I’m learning more on this campaign than I ever expected, and I’m glad I’m able to share some of it in real-time.
One of the most valuable things that I’ve learned is how to listen to the other side and search for common ground. Although I have my own biases, I have to put them aside in order to understand the desires of all residents and how to align interests across different groups. I had to do that earlier today when I went to Grow Tallahassee’s Meet the Candidates event.
The event was an informal meet & greet with candidates that were endorsed by the Grow Tallahassee Political Action Committee, a local political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and/or defeat candidates. The Grow Tallahassee PAC endorsed Cmr. Williams-Cox as a candidate and is also aiding in writing and distributing her campaign ads/mailers. More on that later. Knowing all this, I decided to go anyway to learn and introduce myself to undecided voters.
I had a pleasant time. Everyone was cordial and I even met someone that read some of my posts on here! She said it was cool to see the behind-the-scenes of a campaign and what’s it like to actually run for public office.
After talking to her, I listened to a few of the candidates speak. I’m not always in favor of Cmr. Proctor’s policies, but I do enjoy listening to him speak. He’s a captivating speaker and storyteller. I also learned he’s a descendent of George Proctor, who I learned about while reading historical markers in town. He was a resident in Tallahassee who earned his freedom through his craft and labor. He built homes for prominent Tallahassee citizens. One example is the Knott House, where the Emancipation Proclamation was read, which recognized that all enslaved persons were emancipated.
When the speeches ended, I mingled with the crowd. I ended up talking to a few people. Here’s what they had to say about Tallahassee:
It offers simplicity
It has trouble retaining young talent / being viewed as more than a stepping stone
It has tough environmental regulations (Side note: This is debate-able. This was the opinion of a local developer)
It has an immense shortage of housing
It has hard water
It needs more programs for homeless individuals to gain soft skills and build confidence
Some of these are pros, some of these are cons, but the overall message I heard was people want to see Tallahassee reach its full potential. We’re the Capital City. We could provide more recreational, social, and cultural amenities to attract local businesses and retain the existing population. The “how” is where there’s considerable debate.
Overall, today was a good day! It was interesting to talk to the Grow Tallahassee folks and hear their definition of “progressive” and “sustainable” growth.
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