The Way I See It
An open letter to Reader readers.
Some of you may or may not know this, but during the humble beginnings of the Erie Reader back in 2011, I was also running for a contested seat on Erie's County Council.
My opponent was (and still is) a strong candidate, and as a result, my campaign to serve the County as an elected official ended the night of the General Election. The experience was an eye-opener both in great and not so great ways, and exemplified some of the most vulnerable and humbling moments I have ever had.
Even had I known the end result ahead of time, I would still have run because I loved every moment of being so directly plugged into the political current of Erie, and when I look at those who decide to run, at any level, I give them a great deal of credit whether I agree with their politics – especially those that run with the best interest of the greater good truly at heart.
During these four years, I've kept a vested interest in local government; through various degrees – from voting in the elections, to staying active on local community boards, to writing about local issues – I have found other necessary outlets to engage this passion because I love Erie. I've spent my entire life here – all 38 years of it. From grade school to graduate degree, to all the jobs held in between and beyond, all have been accomplished locally.
But at times, the state of our community tries me – because I know we are capable of better. I've seen some significant changes in the last few years that signal better times lie ahead – I've seen younger people get elected into office, I've seen upsets in elections I never thought would happen, and perhaps more importantly, I see us trying. Yet I still see great, untapped potential, and I believe that that is something I can work for directly.
With that, I am planning to run for a seat on Erie City Council. I'm writing this to let you all know that I will be taking a hiatus from my writing at The Reader as my campaign ramps up. To be fair and open and honest throughout these next several months, the editors and I all agreed it would be better to have me on the front lines than behind the pen, which would give me an unfair advantage with this platform in the coming months.
I plan to tackle issues similar to those I have written about over the years – and more – as there's so much I see for all of us – for our present and for our future: A healthy and vibrant city characterized by a busy and bustling downtown; more offense and less defense in creating an environment that will build safer neighborhoods and stronger families; the creation of a climate that will attract businesses and entrepreneurs so that those "jobs" we keep talking about can be actualized; a luminous arts community; and decisions made that don't just protect the status quo but rather help us progress and prosper. We need to ensure we keep all the good we currently have and capitalize on that through untapped resources.
I don't have all the answers, but I do have a passion for our city and for its future – and most importantly an open mind to learn from all of you – because whether you realize it or not, each one of you brings something to the table for the future of Erie.
Want to know more? Please join me at my kickoff on Wednesday, January 28th from noon to 1 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum, (20 E. Fifth St.). Additionally, you can reach me at Rebecca@StynForCityCouncil.com.