During my tenure in office, I have made it my mission to focus on the issues that are directly affecting Riversiders, driven by the desire to work for solutions that uplift us all. That in it of itself should not be a surprising statement or an unexpected governing tactic, however, many residents in cities across the country feel that local government has lost sight of this mission. Local elected officials have an obligation to the communities they are elected to serve.
More and more, there is a loss of focus on the local level. As our national politics continue to degrade and feed into the politics of hyper polarization, the unintended consequences are wreaking havoc on our local politics. Across this country, local elected officials are increasingly engaging in conspiracies, fighting the latest divisive culture war, and simply prioritizing perceived performance over delivery of results that address the real challenges.
These developments should concern any dutiful member of our society because we have too much riding on the work of our local governments. A study by the Brookings Institute found that state and local governments have a far greater role in the decision-making that affects our daily lives than the federal government. This is highlighted by “key investment decisions—about infrastructure, education, and many other areas—that help determine the long-run capacity of the entire economy” and quality of life.
In my office we are laser-focused on the work of competent governance, strong advocacy, and building ideologically diverse coalitions so that we can deliver results that have long lasting impacts for as many Riversiders as possible. In doing so, we have avoided engaging in esoteric and controversial topics that are unnecessarily pushed down from national level politics. Too many of these topics are inherently divisive and drive national news headlines; it is not worth our time and effort when we have businesses to attract, jobs to create, roads to repave, and a homelessness crisis to address.
There is a time and a place for ideological debates. And it’s important that we have personal beliefs that we value and that guide us. But it is also important to recognize that everyone is different. We all have differing views on what is best for our country, communities, ourselves, and our families – we should respect each and every view without resorting to violence, verbal abuse, intolerance, and hatred.
In Riverside, we value diversity of all types. As we strive to stay above the division and above the fray, I will be continuing to do the job I was elected to do: to represent the interests of Riverside by delivering results that help to improve our lives. I urge all local leaders—both in government and non-government—to join me in this effort as we get back to basics, getting back to the business of our respective communities. This work is needed now more than ever.