I write this to thank you.
Even though I lost the election for Upper St. Clair Commissioner last week, I honestly feel like Niki and I have gained so much throughout this experience. Many of you have offered us condolences and helpful words of encouragement. Thank you for that. But I write to tell you that I am frankly thrilled by the campaign we ran, what we learned, and where we're going.
It's been an incredible year. And the future is looking a lot better than we could have imagined.
As some of you know, three years ago this week, Niki and I bought a house in Upper St. Clair despite having never lived here, and not knowing a soul who did. After years in Washington, DC and New York City, we came to USC to raise our girls. We wanted a bigger house, a yard with a swingset, nice neighbors, and good schools. We got all of that, and a lot more.
You welcomed us. You babysit our children, join us on play dates, check on our house, bring up our trash cans when we're away, and join us for wine nights. We talk about five-year old dance classes, Pitt's basketball team, the global impact of China's glass recycling practices, and so much more.
But as you have welcomed us, we are also aware of how we can help you. Both Niki and I have the expertise and experience to help address our community's challenges for today and the future. Both of us have dedicated our careers to public service and organizing on a national stage, and we both look forward to the opportunity to bring that experience to benefit our neighbors.
With the encouragement and help of many of you, we ran an upstart campaign against a two-decade incumbent from the dominant political party in town. We knew at the outset that we faced long odds.
So we hustled. A lot. We knocked doors, raised money, texted people, made calls, met neighbors, designed signs, designed hangers, designed mailers, built a website, met with groups for coffee, and knocked more doors. We met so many of you.
Along the way, we learned that perhaps one of the best ways to get involved in a new community is to run for office. Frankly, you learn a ton about what people care about and why. You only get that by meeting and talking to people. And we did a ton of that.
Not everything was great, of course. I was disappointed by some of the scare tactics that were used against our effort (no, I don't want to raise taxes or bring in HUD housing projects). But I genuinely believe that the vast majority of discourse was honest and open. And I don't think the false claims about my interests in our community changed the election outcome.
What I learned from knocking on doors of both ardent President Trump and Elizabeth Warren supporters is that the vast majority of issues that impact our lives every day are the same. The Morrow Road bridge washing out is a big pain. Not recycling glass is disappointing. Our property taxes for both the township and the school are oppressive. And it's ludicrous that "membership" to our own taxpayer-funded Community and Recreation Center costs more than the fanciest gym memberships.
Niki and I will be better neighbors for what we learned. But perhaps the thing we're proudest of is that despite the fact that none of you knew us just three years ago, you believed in us and supported us. Even when it wasn't easy.
We lost by under 60 votes against a popular incumbent, amidst record turnout for an off-year election. That's incredible.
But we can't rest now. We don't have the time. One of the most important elections for our town, our county, our state, and our country is less than one year away. We need to come together again. We need to help each other again. And we will.
We also will not ignore what we’ve learned about our community’s needs and concerns. As organizers and policy analysts, Niki and I intend to pursue the issues, and hold our elected officials accountable for addressing them. Again, the information and support that we gained throughout this process will not waste away.
Thank you to all the people who joined us in our journey over the past few years. I look forward to what's ahead. Given what I've seen over the past three months alone, I'm expecting some great things. From all of us.
Your Friend and Neighbor,