Unity, Community, Future, Leadership, The Vision
Unity & Community
Seeing division amongst my fellow neighbors is one of the things that inspired me to run for City Council. I saw a lot of people with similar goals and “why’s” completely rip each other apart via social media and it was very divisive and discouraging, especially in what is supposed to be such a “neighborly” town. However, I have witnessed just the opposite in my actual neighborhood. We get together with our kiddos, have bunco and ladies nights, let the kids ride their bikes while we plan the next neighborhood event. And guess what? We don’t all have the same political beliefs, life experiences and maybe not even all the same spiritual beliefs. However, we have a great time, we are there for one another when needed, we laugh with each other, we look after each other’s children and we all have mutual respect for one another. This UNITY is also what inspired me to run for City Council. We can focus on things like development, safety, parks and recreation, lowering taxes, and all the other issues every community must focus on, but if we forget some of the most basic values of life such as showing respect and kindness to one another, embracing the unique ability to “agree to disagree” without taking offense to every single thing, trusting we all have the same goal as a commUNITY in mind, valuing other people’s strengths rather than highlighting their weaknesses, how will we ever be able to make the best choices for the community as a whole?
On average, 7-10% of Keller residents actually vote in local elections. This means only 7-10% of Keller residents are making decisions for all 45,000+ residents of Keller. Inspiring more engagement, stronger communication, learning from more Keller residents, and of course doing the necessary research will all help in the collaboration process of keeping Keller the great city it is while preparing for the greater Keller of tomorrow. What does the future of Keller look like? Not just in 3-9 years but in the next 20-30 years? The decisions we make right now in regards to development, zoning, parks and rec, safety, etc. will set the stage for future generations of Keller. Will Keller be a city we are proud of, and the elementary kids of today will want to come back to raise their kids in? Or will it turn into an overcrowded, broken down old town Keller that we won’t even recognize?
Learning from past generations, looking at what needs attention right now, and thinking long term in the future will play a vital role in the overall success of Keller, both for the now and for the future. We must be mindful of and united in what currently makes Keller so special and make sure to protect that. We must also be willing to think creatively and collaboratively on how to maintain those special characteristics and still continue to grow, especially when we no longer have the capacity to bring in more people or bring in new business in the near future.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” “Leadership isn’t measured by how many followers one has but how many leaders one produces.” Those are a couple of quotes that have spoken to me over the years of leadership trainings, seminars and books I’ve read. Our City Council over the years must be successful for us to have such a high percentage of people wanting to live here, right? It must be true. However, we are in a position that leadership matters more now than it ever has before. Our land use and population thresholds are almost at capacity and the decisions and plans we make these next few years will effect Keller for decades to come. It’s important to be the best communicators, the most transparent, and the most intentional than we’ve ever been before. We must encourage engagement more now than we ever have before so we can create a master plan that allows ups to be proactive instead of reactive.
Let’s be real. No one likes politics (ok, VERY few people like politics). We are busy, city council meetings aren’t the most exciting things to attend on our week nights, the website while it has every piece of information we could ever need, is extremely difficult to navigate and overwhelming. Not to mention, most of us avoid politics out of fear of being rejected or ripped apart on social media. People lose friends over disagreements in politics. It takes an intentional, personable and genuine leader to rise to the challenge to engage a community in local politics and create a community of unity, not uniformity.
When I think of Keller today, I think of a safe, family friendly area that allows my children to learn, play and grow in an environment free from worry and full of life. When I think of Keller politics, my thoughts aren’t as positive, and I’m sure that is the same for many people.
When I think of the Keller of tomorrow I think of those exact same qualities except with healthier engagement from the city and stronger leadership from the council. However, making sure Keller keeps the current “Keller charm”, while sustaining consistent growth is an artform. Having a strong leadership team of very different, independent and creative thinkers, but with the same heart of serving Keller, coupled with the ability to create unity and cast a vision for the future will be vital to the success of Keller today and the Keller of tomorrow.