Great ideas move slowly in government. And that’s a good thing. Bad ideas sometimes move fast, twitching in the political winds. Here in NC we can see the damage done by an ideologue GOP in a few short years since they grabbed the majority in the General Assembly in 2010. Defunding education, cutting Medicaid, cutting environmental protection, making voter registration more difficult … lots of bad ideas in a big hurry. Of course that doesn’t come close to the instant havoc created by our current president. Madness multiplied.
I promised to address racial profiling and the denial of civil liberties to people based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identification, religion, political views and so on when I ran for City Council in 2009. Over the ensuing years I met with an interdenominational council, Occupy activists, Latino community groups, the Asheville Police Department management, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, and concerned citizens. In fall of 2013 the Asheville City Council passed my resolution unanimously.
It was watered down from the original as happens to most legislation. But it clearly instructed Asheville City employees that the rules for the City were: no discrimination.
In some ways the experience was depressing. In essence, it took me 4 years to get Council to endorse the Bill of Rights. But in other ways it was encouraging. We made a clear statement in favor of fairness under the law.
My point here is this: small changes take years. Big changes take longer. Who you vote for in local elections matters immensely, and they need to be willing to press the big issues for years. I have fought against entrenched interests from the get-go and I haven’t stopped. My overarching goals are to represent my constituents as consistently and fairly as I can manage, and to use whatever City resources are available to address the fundamental reality of climate change. I am solidly in favor of a truly sustainable future.