Every week I have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with dozens of residents and leaders in our community. Most of these meetings are casual chats over a cup of coffee at our downtown coffee shop, The Blend & Co. It’s just a block from city hall and offers a perfect spot to get my creative juices flowing and recharge with a jolt of caffeine. It is also a great spot to have spur of the moment collisions and ensuing conversations with folks I haven’t seen in a while or am meeting for the first time.
A great example of this came just the other week while I was meeting with Scott Doron from Alamance Community College. He and I had parked ourselves and our coffees at a table on the front sidewalk. It was a hot day, but in the cool afternoon shade, it felt heavenly refreshing. As we talked about entrepreneurship, innovation, education, and economic growth in the community, our conversation would be interrupted briefly every few minutes. A passing driver would honk or wave, a bicyclist would stop and greet us, and children walking by who I’d met before at their school would stop to introduce their parents to their friend, the Mayor. After about a dozen of these interruptions, Scott asked, “Is this always what it’s like being Mayor?”
The answer is yes, and I love it. When I first started running for office in 2013, my goal was to engage more people in a constructive conversation about how we continue to move our community forward. Every day since then we have continued to reach more people. What Scott witnessed, is a testament to our success. The fact that we’ve humanized the office of Mayor into a role of a community champion is the really wonderful part. It’s election season, which means that I’ll be having even more of these inspiring community conversations, at coffee shops, in parking lots, on front porches, and in living rooms all across Burlington. Someone once asked me if I’d met everyone in town? I haven’t yet, but that won’t stop me from trying.
Finally, please remember to vote in the Municipal elections this year. There will be a primary on October 10th and Election Day is November 7th. There are lots of great candidates out there who want to meet you. Make sure to cast vote in both elections and make your story heard!