Truth and Courage

The most common comment about my campaign has been, by far, people thanking me for the courage to run. Thank you for that, though I must admit I don’t feel courageous.

 

I was encouraged enough to run, curious enough to dig in, inspired enough to speak out, and willing enough to see this conversation through. At no point did I think I was making a courageous leap into the unknown or opposing daunting forces.

 

I was just doing what felt right, even though the timing was less than perfect with a brand new kid and new job at a kids-focused non-profit. It’s rarely the right time to do what’s right.

 

I posted weekly thoughts about the campaign and our district every Friday to this site, which were shared via email, and shared from there with many others. I thoroughly enjoyed all three candidate’s forums (and posted videos on my site). I chimed in on Nextdoor now and again, both sharing my ideas and correcting views or statements people assigned to me (here, here, and here as examples).

 

I didn’t get 100’s of plastic yard signs, didn’t run online ads that popped up before kids video games, didn’t stand on street corners in the morning waving at cars, didn’t knock on doors in the evening, didn’t cold call people by the dozen. I didn’t have the money (no donations), didn’t have the team (just me), and didn’t have the time (4 month old kid).

 

These are not excuses, these are all choices that I am happy to have made.

 

Many times I chose the life of a young husband and new father over what I knew to be prime campaigning time and opportunities. That dual role has, I am confident, both limited my chances at winning a seat and reaffirmed what values I’d ardently support if I did.

 

Maybe being part of the community rather than campaigning during community events cost me a few votes, but it won me irreplaceable memories. This was my second year in a row to both cook in the chili cook-off and win the group dog costume competition with my friends. Neither were campaign events for me like they were for the two slates in this race, who I hope to see back out there again next year (without the campaign posters).

 

I knew I’d make mistakes and learn from them, and that has been absolutely true. This campaign has been a wonderful learning experience and my final lesson comes on November 6th. Every voter will be my teacher, and what happens after this graduation of sorts remains to be seen.

 

If I do win a seat on our board, I look forward to getting to work. Before I even submitted the paperwork to run, my wife and I had talked about the time commitments the actual gig would require. I have 10 hours of weekly commute time to handle required reading, coordinate meetings, and handle emails. My day job puts me squarely in the middle of modern education technology, in conversation with leading policy advocates, and surrounded by former teachers and board members from other districts. I have one night per week for meetings, which is one district board meeting a month, one meeting at the Sausalito campus, one at the Marin City campus, and one meeting per month with the County.

 

As I look back on this campaign, I feel proud of the conversations I’ve had rather than courageous for speaking what I believe to be the truth of our district. It shouldn’t take courage to speak what you believe is true, and, if the community is intolerant of your truth, or limits your ability to raise your voice, it often reflects more on the character of the community than the individual.

 

I hope what I’ve said rings true to you. If it doesn’t, I hope you can pause and listen to better understand my perspective, experience, and statements before sharing your truth with me. That pause and that perspective will lead to great conversations more often than not.

 

Your truth may be different than mine. Your truth matters to me. Your truth should count to anyone representing you.

 

So, as my way of saying thank you to the people that encouraged me, supported me, spurred me on, and kept me going, here are some of the truths shared with me along the way.

 

The neighbor that didn’t get into Willow Creek and moved after two years of private school.

 

The multi-generation Marin City resident speaking to the community character of both Joshua Barrow and Ida Green.

 

The last credentialed math teacher at Bayside MLK sharing her experiences as major changes were happening in our district just a few years ago.

 

The family friend that knew me socially before the campaign.

 

The fellow candidate who didn’t know me at all before the campaign.