Thank you everyone!

I am profoundly honored to be a councilman-elect for the city of Lakewood.

This was a long campaign; Tuesday was a long day that stretched into a long night, before final results.

But it’s official, Lakewood has called on me to serve on City Council.

The support from this community is incredible. Over 4,500 voted for our campaign, more votes than any campaign received in Lakewood’s last at-large race four years ago. This response to my first-ever campaign for office is moving. I am more than happy with this overall second-place result, and I congratulate first-place finisher Meghan F. George.

Our swearing-in will likely take place around the first of January. There is much to do even before then, to start delivering on a more inclusive, better Lakewood for all. Please stay tuned for updates as we recover from the campaign and get to work on realizing that promise.

Meanwhile, there are far, far too many people and organizations to thank, but I will make a start and keep trying in the days ahead.

Election Day

Polls close for Election 2017 in a little over five hours. It has turned into a beautiful fall day in Lakewood, and I hope as many people as possible will enjoy it while being part of our community’s future.

For anyone taking a last-minute look,

My background includes degrees in business administration and public administration; two startups; volunteer work as county coordinator for OSHIIP; a great tenure doing outreach for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank; and working as regional field director for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign.

My goals include substantive measures to protect Lakewood’s green space, and public services; improved senior amenities; promoting inclusive policies over those that discriminate like Lakewood’s current nuisance law and breed-specific dog ordinance; and better year-round communication and participation for all Lakewood residents in the decisions that affect them, before those decisions get made.

I am endorsed by the local UAW, AFSCME, Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Our Revolution, Cleveland Action Democrats, DSA Cleveland and Working Families Party…

I have also been endorsed by a number of Lakewood residents, and I hope very much that you will join them when you mark your ballot.

This campaign is about our local community, and what we can do together to help make Lakewood better for all.

Experience that matters

I believe this election is about our future. But experience is very valuable in getting things done, especially in a way that’s thoughtful and inclusive.

I will bring real-world experience to Lakewood City Council:

  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank, where I was one of the first employees in a new Outreach Department, providing millions of meals per year to our most vulnerable populations
  • Business experience creating and running two start-ups
  • MoveOn.org, United Against Hate Program, Deputy State Director
  • Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), Volunteer County Coordinator
  • Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, Field Director and National Ballot Access Officer
  • Advocacy at the state and federal levels for increases to food assistance programs and for banking reforms
  • Cleveland State Democrats, VP
  • Church on the North Coast, Media Director
  • BONGA Media, a nonprofit program which I organized and led, teaching media, marketing and computer skills to empower the residents of a small community in Uganda
  • Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Outreach Volunteer

I am also proud of the work that went into my Master’s of Public Administration from CSU, and of the months of experience meeting people throughout Lakewood, during this campaign. But the experience that I will rely on most, if elected to Lakewood City Council, is first-hand, real-world experience helping people. That’s what public service should be about. I’m ready to put all of my experience in this category to work for our community.

This campaign is community-focused

“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.

Support from the Community

I’m proud of the endorsements I have received from organizations, particularly Our Revolution, which carries on the national campaign for progressive change that Senator Bernie Sanders inspired last year.

But I am honored by the support from within our community. I’m running to represent the people of Lakewood, and the people will ultimately judge my candidacy. So I am deeply grateful for recent letters-to-the-editor from Lakewood residents.

Tim Collingwood, in The Lakewood Observer:

…when I moved to Lakewood close to three years ago this October, there was one person I knew who respected people and got around issues and causes that people supported simply because he cares about the community he lives in. That person is Tristan Rader.

…When I went to a Town Hall meeting at Garfield School not too long ago, I mentioned that Cranford Ave has been slow to repair the street and repair the sidewalks. Tristan said that he would talk to the people currently tasked to see that through, and within a week of that promise, I saw construction workers working on the street which is now pot-hole free, and working on the sidewalks making them easier to walk on. I saw something get done.

…We need someone who will truly be a public servant for public service. That person is Tristan Rader, and he has my full support. I hope you consider him in the upcoming local election.

A campaign kick-off with special guests

Apparently, true grassroots campaigns aren’t discouraged by rain, they thrive in it.

Today’s campaign kick-off made this clear. On a cold and rainy day in Lakewood, our campaign team set up everything to receive guests, and then watched the gray scene before us wondering if any would show up.

A few showed up. Then a few more. Then more. Etc.