Last month, as we announced my plans to seek a second mayoral term, Dawn and I remembered the voices that were so important four years ago, heard at more than 60 house parties and in hundreds of individual conversations about our community and our future:
“Where are my kids going to work in Bloomington?” – With the decades-long decline of major manufacturing jobs and a growing reliance on service sector jobs, how will Bloomington increase good jobs?
“What can we do about housing that just gets more and more expensive?” – shutting out new families and those without substantial means, and threatening our way of life.
“How do we protect our fundamental public safety?” – as our city saw increased violent crime over the preceding 10 years, and some sensed a decline of civility.
“What are we doing about climate change and protecting the natural world?” – as current policies seemed inadequate to the global and local threats.
“How do we protect what we love about Bloomington, both physically and in quality of life? – in the face of development pressures, unattractive buildings, population growth, and the like.
“And how about public education?” – to assure this highly educated community has public schools that allow all our kids to thrive and reach their potential.
We heard more questions from city employees, like:
“How can I do my job with equipment that is falling apart?” – such as fire engines that would stall out during an emergency call, dump trucks so rusty you could put your hand through them, and snow plows that wouldn’t run.
“Why can’t we just TRY some things, even if they’re hard or might not work?” – because we know many things that need to be addressed, but we shy away from difficult decisions or controversial topics.
These questions motivated our administration from day one. They’re why we keep fighting for Bloomington’s future every day. I’m seeking a second term to keep up our strong positive momentum.
You can get lots of details about all the great progress on job growth, affordable housing, more efficient and innovative government, improving public schools, and more, at the city website HERE, or my campaign website HERE.
Of course, much work remains, and none of us should be satisfied with where we are as a community. We have neighbors who are struggling mightily with poverty, or substance use disorder, or illness, or prejudice, or violence, or inadequate wages, and more. We have future potential neighbors who want to be here but don’t feel welcome or don’t see job opportunities or can’t find affordable housing.
And as we’ve been fighting for Bloomington’s future, no doubt we’ve occasionally stepped on some toes. Sometimes we’ve stubbed our own toes, as we’ve tried to tackle a lot of big, complex challenges, like affordable housing and sustainability (especially in the face of often hostile state and national governments). But as I promised on day one, we’ll keep fighting and striving to make Bloomington a city that welcomes everyone, that works for people from all walks of life, and that always aims high.
Dawn and I are so grateful to get the chance to live here, and work here, and join with all of you to keep this progressive city moving forward. In the face of a conservative state and infuriating national headwinds, we relish keeping our community on track to the better future that we want, and that the next generations depend upon. Thanks for all you do.
Ps: Thanks to the hundreds who helped ring out the Bicentennial Year at City Hall on December 31st. We’re off to the next 100 years for Bloomington! Please check out the campaign website and get involved HERE.