I’d like to take a moment to share that I will not be seeking re-election to a third term on the Salem City Council this year. I never intended to remain in politics for long and believe that regular turnover of representation in local government will generate healthy debate and benefit our community in the long run.

The privilege of serving as Ward 2 Councillor over the past nearly 3.5 years has been beyond my wildest dreams and the honor of my life. In my first campaign in 2017, I ran on keeping Salem affordable, prosperous, and inclusive. Since then, I’ve fought hard to deliver on those issues through zoning changes, demanding more resources to make our streets safer, call for investments in public transit, and denounce prejudice when our community’s values are attacked. I may not have won every fight, but I’m confident that I’ve made impacts that will pave the way for bigger changes down the road.

I’m proud to have narrowed the communication gap between Ward 2 constituents and the City Council by issuing regular newsletters like this one to keep residents informed. Over the years, my mailing list has grown to an audience of nearly 500, the majority of which regularly reads and shares my emails with their networks. I’ve enjoyed all of my “ask your Councillor” live Q&A sessions on Facebook, even though it quickly became unsustainable during the pandemic with two young children at home who demanded all our attention after a full day of remote work.

My hope for the next Ward 2 Councillor is that he or she will continue to facilitate constructive dialogue between citizens and developers. As I often said in my first campaign, Salem’s growth is its biggest challenge and opportunity. In many of the neighborhood meetings I held over the years, my favorite question to everyone has always been “what can we do to make this project better?” Collaboration, not obstructionism, will ultimately be the key to balancing interests and finding common ground in our shared community. Listening and appreciating each other’s differences over the phone or in person is so much more conducive to progress compared to debates over social media.

I continue to be amazed by the passion and dedication citizens of Salem share towards this magical city we all call home, regardless of where we stand on issues that are important to the city. The outpouring of kindness and generosity whenever a fellow Salemite is in need will always surprise me and be a source of comfort especially during challenging times like these. Another source of inspiration for me are Salem’s children. Some of my favorite moments as Councillor were spent at Carlton School reading to students. I feel positive about the future of Salem, knowing that we have so many bright and spirited kids in our public schools!

I’m grateful for all the conversations and interactions I’ve had with Ward 2 neighbors, families, businesses, and visitors during my time in office. I have no doubt Ward 2 voters will choose the right Councillor to lead the most active Ward of the city into the next two years. I’m excited to finish out my term in office as the City Council President, continuing the efficiency and professionalism by which we have been conducting Council business this year. Whoever Ward 2 chooses next, I’m committed to helping my successor keep the good work moving forward.

If you’ve caught the bug to run for public office, remember the last day to pull nomination papers is July 23 and due on July 27. Good luck to all the candidates! The full election calendar can be found here.