I spent the weekend plucking green signs from lawns around town. Some will be recycled with community organizations who will paint over Ed4Ed, and use the signs to promote their own activities. Others will be at the bottom of trash bins (note to self: if I ever run again, use signs made from recyclable material).
I want to thank everyone who voted. Middletown's turnout of 42.5 percent is something to be proud of in a state where an off-year election turnout of 25 percent is considered good. Of course, particular thanks to all of you who filled in the bubble next to my name. I'm gratified at the support I received at the polls, and I pledge to listen, learn and act in the best interest of Middletown students.
Thanks too to everyone who worked on the campaign. It simply would not have been possible without you.
There was a lot at stake, and the voting populace seemed aware of that.
Big change occured in the mayor's office and on the Board of Education, but the power structure of the Common Council was largely untouched.
The shouting's over, and now the real work begins. I don't envy Dan Drew who must transition to a new office, a new job, keep the city humming, and somehow address the dozens of hot issues that confront him. Good luck Dan, and anything I can do to help, just holler.
Over at the Board of Ed, we have potential for real change, real soon. With five newly elected members, none of whom is an incumbent, and all of who ran on platforms of change, accountability and transparency, I predict that change, accountability and transparency will be in evidence at the very first meeting of new members this Wednesday (the meeting is currently scheduled for the Board of Education board room, but members are lobbying for a change of venue to a site where cablecast is possible.)
The campaign was exhausting, and I'm excited to get to work, but the job ahead will require attention to detail, diligence and a ton of plain, old grunt work.
I encourage the several capable candidates who did not win a seat to stay involved. There were a lot of good ideas floated in this campaign, and just because their author was not elected does not mean we shouldn't consider these ideas.
Involvement by the rest of the community and all education stakeholders is also essential. This is not about nine people who have a lock on the only good ideas in town. This is about nine people representing thousands of students, parents, teachers, staff and taxpayers.
I fully expect to see a new climate of respect, open communication and celebration of our hardworking teachers and the achievements of our students. I expect to be part of a district where the mantra is "help everyone involved to grow."
I invite you all to come out to the first meeting. Express your thoughts and witness a changing of the guard that could, and should carry Middletown schools to new levels of excellence.