I've been running for City Council since I announced my candidacy on March 27th. In my campaign materials and when I talk to residents at house parties or events I always explain that I'm proud of our city's legacy of progressive values and that my vision is for our city is to become a leading progressive community of the 21st Century.
The idea of progressivism resonates for most people but there are many others who either don't know what the term is supposed to mean or feel that over time it has come to lack real meaning. Let me spell out what I think it means, particularly relating to our community.
The broadest definition of a progressive is a person who supports reform in politics or society. Progressivism is forward-thinking and founded on faith that positive change is achievable and beneficial. As a progressive, I believe that government can and should be a force for good in the lives of all citizens.
Progressivism is associated with a variety of issues in different contexts, but here are the progressive values that I believe are fundamental to a great progressive community today:
Social Justice. A progressive community is diverse, inclusive and welcoming. We must be ever vigilant to ensure that all share equally in the benefits and opportunities we enjoy as residents, without regard to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, or socio-economic status. This requires continuing communication and interaction across all parts of our community. It also requires that city services be provided fairly and effectively to all.
Engaged Citizens. Progressive governance depends on active engagement of citizens. There must be a productive partnership between our government and our residents and our community organizations. Transparency and citizen input should be the cornerstone of government action. Elected officials should be accessible and responsive.
Sustainability. For the health of our community and for the benefit of future generations, it must be a top priority for us as a progressive community to use less energy from nonrenewable sources, conserve water, generate less waste, promote local food production, preserve green space, and minimize our negative impact on the environment. This requires not only that our government implement sustainable practices in its own operations but that it provide leadership in educating all residents about the benefits of sustainable practices.
Quality Public Education. Quality public education is fundamental to a strong democracy and an indispensable component of a progressive community. It is an asset for all, not merely those who participate in it directly. There should be a shared vision and commitment to achieving academic excellence in our public schools among the city government, the public school district, and our engaged citizens.
Arts and Culture. The quality of life of the entire community benefits from the creative endeavors of our residents and access to arts and culture. A progressive community helps to promote arts and culture, which in turn will help the community grow and thrive.
Local Economy. The greatest benefit flows to our community from businesses that are locally owned, hire locally, and purchase and sell locally. A progressive community therefore promotes business that is local in nature and encourages residents to shop locally.
Values like these are the foundation upon which I think city policies should be based. As a candidate, I am asking residents to hire me to serve them based upon my values. I hope that this post is helpful in introducing some values that I hold dear, and in future writing I plan to detail particular ideas and policies that I believe would promote these values.