“It’s not about me, it’s about us,” was how I concluded my first formal speech as a candidate. Since then, our campaign has tried to reflect this as much as possible. I have held open, community meetings throughout Lakewood. I have declined corporate contributions and run the campaign on small, individual donations. Even on our literature, we have chosen photos showing the people that this campaign is for, rather than just photos of me.
I am grateful for all the formal endorsements I have received. But the response from the Lakewood community is what matters most, and I have been honored by all the people who have voiced support for me. In the newspaper, in person, online, with yard signs…
As we begin the final week of the campaign, it’s heartening that this support is still arriving.
This weekend, the Women’s Convention in Detroit is continuing the movement that began nine months ago with the historic Women’s March. Looking back on the march prompts a number of reflections. Along with many others, I helped organize the sister march in Cleveland (and at least half of my campaign committee volunteered at the event). I don’t think any of us imagined the extraordinary response that followed.
Meanwhile, both the march and the convention represent major milestones in “a much longer journey…” That’s how Cleveland Heights – University Heights student Fiona Macke described this movement, on the flier she created for the Cleveland Women’s March. Looking back on what she wrote, it’s still an impressive tip sheet for activism, concise and relevant.
It also highlights what I think is one more milestone yet to come this year. As Macke wrote,
“Vote in every election from school board to President. It’s the only way to enusre that people in power will hear you”
In Lakewood, November 7 will be the first opportunity to take this step since the Women’s March. We have not had a primary or a special election all year.
I’m asking the voters of Lakewood to send me to City Hall to represent them on council. But I also believe that an equally important part of a council member’s job is spending time outside City Hall, in the community. Citizens shouldn’t have to pay council members, and do all the work of going to council on its schedule, just to speak for a few minutes.
The people’s representatives should be accessible throughout the community, for direct two-way dialogue.
That’s what I have been doing this year as a candidate. It’s what I will continue to do if I’m elected to City Council at-large.
It’s what I am continuing to do now, in fact. In June and July, my campaign held four Town Halls meetings, and I’m committed to continuing these. Meanwhile I have also held more public events each month. Nearly all these events have met the Town Hall Project’s five criteria of 1) free, 2) open to the public, 3) open questions, 4) an in-person appearance, and 5) sticking around for the whole event. (I took a couple of breaks during the Community Festival, and two candidate forums sponsored by other organizations screened questions in advance.)
Stan Austin is a genuine pillar of the community. He has been an organizer, has worked on campaign after campaign, spent years covering city council as a citizen journalist…
So his endorsement in the most recent Lakewood Observer is very humbling.
Forty years ago I was one of the co-founders of the Lakewood Democratic Club. The organizers of the Club felt that Lakewood was facing a crossroad and progressive Democrats had to organize in order to put our agenda out to the public and elect Democrats to Lakewood offices. In that effort I think we have been largely successful to the benefit of Lakewood.
Today I think we still face some significant issues such as a massive giveaway of City assets and thinly disguised discrimantory laws such as breed specific ordinances.
I have watched Tristan Rader on the campaign trail. He first of all recognizes these kinds of issues. Secondly, he has logically thought them through with a fresh look and a respectful recognition of our past.
It’s time that we in Lakewood catch up with our future again!
Thank you, Stan. You have been a tremendously generous example, and I will do my best to live up to that standard in service to Lakewood.
For many years, Lakewood exempted students from filing a local income tax return, if they spent most of the year at college. Then, late in 2015, City Council voted to end that exemption beginning with filings for 2016.
This vote came up as a question at a candidate forum a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised that all of the incumbent candidates struggled to remember it.
I was actually the only candidate familiar with the issue, and replied that I would have fought to keep this exemption for students. To be entirely fair, City Council holds a lot of votes, and I can’t say for certain that I would have recalled the details of this one almost two years later.
But the issue also came up again just this year, when people went to file 2016 taxes and began asking where the college student exemption went. People discussed it online, the Lakewood Observer published an article, and Lakewood’s Finance Director as well as Ward 4 Councilman Dan O’Malley all weighed in.
I noticed this, and the discussion convinced me that this was not a decision that I would have supported on council. While the city cited changes in state law as the reason for taking away the exemption, residents noticed that other Ohio cities have kept this filing exemption. The Director of Tax Policy at the Ohio Society of CPAs says that nothing in 2014 tax law changes prevented Lakewood from doing the same.
Based on that, I can say that I disagree with the choice made by City Council in 2015. It’s a relatively small thing in practical terms. But with so many people struggling to afford college, we should stand up for whatever support Lakewood can offer, not take it away in a vote that no one seemed to notice.
Thank you very much to Cleveland Action Democrats for honoring me with your support!
Tristan Rader is a young leader in Lakewood that we hope will play a major role in the future of Lakewood and Cuyahoga County politics. We believe that the future of Cuyahoga County must be a place that protects seniors, our environment, our public education, limits home vacancies, and is a place where working families and young people will want to call home. We believe Tristan has a great understanding of national issues and local issues.
Tristan is on the right side of Lakewood’s unjust ban of dogs with a pit bull breed background. We stand with Charlie, his owner, and to an end to this ban. We hope Tristan will consider animal-friendly solutions to current local wildlife issues. [Note: absolutely will consider these options first.]
Tristan is a member of the Lakewood Democratic Club, a Co-founder of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and is working on the yes on 2 campaign. We are happy to give him our fullest endorsement.
About the The Cleveland and suburbs of Cleveland Action Democrats: “From the West Side to the East Side, we are peaceful, peace loving, disciplined, and intelligent. Bring your ideas, bring hope, we are a bottom up organization. We need friendship, togetherness, and strong Democratic locals.”
You are a very welcome addition to my list of endorsements. I will do what I can to make you proud.