I have only cried once during a city council meeting – the night I was sworn in as a new Edgewater city councilor in late 2019. But I imagine the second time will be Tuesday, Aug. 3, during my last meeting as an Edgewater city councilor.
COVID-19 has changed all our lives, and the particulars of those changes for my family have included a job change for me as well as a move to Buena Vista. Due to this change in location, I will be formally withdrawing from the Edgewater city council effective Aug. 15 of this year.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this community that I love, especially during a year none of us could have imagined. I am incredibly proud of the leadership we’ve seen from Edgewater and Jefferson County during a dual economic and public health crisis, and I will be forever grateful to have had the chance to create new policies alongside my neighbors to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
This past year, the Edgewater city council created two grant programs to support small businesses and provide mortgage and rental assistance for residents during the pandemic, the combination of which have dispersed nearly $800,000. We also created an eviction defense program to work with renters and landlords to keep our neighbors in their homes.
And as part of the national response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I led changes to our budget that resulted in four new positions to prioritize mental health and housing crisis support for Edgewater: we hired a housing advocate, a homeless navigator, and two co-responders to work with the Edgewater Police Department to provide alternative solutions and support during emergency calls involving someone struggling with a mental health crisis.
And along with managing the city’s response to COVID-19, I’m proud to have helped create safer routes to schools, more bike lanes, make progress towards a permanent local dog park and, most recently, to have taken a huge step towards protecting our young people by working to ban the sale of flavored tobacco in city limits.
Serving my community as a city councilor has been an amazing experience; I’ve grown as a person and a leader, learned so much, and have had the opportunity to work alongside neighbors I now consider friends. To those of you considering running for office, I’ll say this: we need more people from diverse backgrounds to step up to run. Whether you’re a working mother, a small business owner, someone who’s struggled, or just someone who loves zoning policy, we need your knowledge and experience in local government. I will always cherish this time I had on the Edgewater city council, and I am excited to see the next generation of Edgewater leaders step forward.