Thirty minutes later, Cathy Wilson had not only managed to get me to say that I would vote for her, but also that I wanted to volunteer to help her get elected to the Morris Township Committee.
I was impressed with Cathy’s intelligence, experience and
ability to express her vision for the community in a clear and compelling
way. I was also struck by Cathy’s
reasons for running – she cares and wants to make a difference.
Cathy spent her 26-year career in education
as a teacher and administrator. She
retired in 2004 and recently completed a Master’s Degree in Negotiation and
Conflict Resolution. While Cathy has
always followed local politics, she has never run for office before. Cathy explained to me that she was moved to
run in the aftermath of the Honeywell and Hurricane Sandy debacles.
In the case of Honeywell, Cathy feels
strongly that a missing ingredient in our current process is a collaborative
communication forum that engages residents, officials, planners, and other
stakeholders in working together to create a guiding vision, clarify common
concerns, and develop creative resolution options.
In the case of Sandy, Cathy was frustrated not only with the length of the outage, but also with the lack of communication during the outage. Cathy has already proven to me that she is a woman of action by the fact that she was a founding member of CREMT, Citizens for Reliable Electricity in Morris Township, an organization created in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. CREMT is focused on results – fewer outages with shorter duration and better communication among JCP&L, the township and the residents.
After our brief encounter at my front door, I asked Cathy
for a meeting so that I could get to know her better. In that two-hour session, my initial reaction
to Cathy was validated and reinforced.
was struck by the fact that Cathy doesn’t need to do this – she WANTS to do it. She believes, and I strongly agree, that her
many years of working with people from diverse backgrounds as a teacher and
administrator, coupled with her degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, give
her a unique skillset to work effectively and creatively to solve the
community’s problems in an open and inclusive manner.
As I was sitting and chatting with Cathy, it
dawned on me that if Cathy loses in November, while she would be disappointed,
the real losers would be the residents of Morris Township. We would lose someone who has the experience,
vision and energy to effect “targeted change” (as Cathy puts it) in our
community. Cathy readily acknowledged
that while some things work well in our local government, there are other
things that she wants to change, most notably the closed, top-down practice
currently used for resolving contentious land use and zoning issues.
Cathy would supplement the current practice with a state-of-the-art process that is open, transparent, and invites real communication among all the constituents throughout. Cathy is a proactive, results-oriented team player who wants the opportunity to listen to the concerns and views of all the various stakeholders in Morris Township and use that input to build a stronger community. Cathy is not someone who will wait around for problems to come up and then react to them. Rather, she will be proactive in addressing issues before they become problems.
As you can see, I was moved by Cathy’s vision and energy to
write this letter to get the word out about her candidacy. I also will be volunteering my time between
now and November 5 doing whatever I can to help get Cathy elected. I
believe that others would be similarly motivated if they had the opportunity to
meet and talk to Cathy.
There are three
such upcoming opportunities: there are
two upcoming fundraisers on Oct. 4 and 13, and there is a debate on Oct.
28. The debate will be held at 7:30 pm
at the Alfred Vail School. For more
information on any of these events, you can email Cathy Wilson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who want to learn more about
Cathy but aren’t able to attend any of the upcoming events, you can visit
Cathy’s website at www.cathy2013.com.