Morey Walker/My Turn: Expressing gratitude

Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
*Archive Article*
Now that the dust has settled after November’s election, I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect on my Greenfield mayoral campaign.

First off I would like to thank my family, Kate and my children, and my “family” from other communities. Running for office for over a year took much of my time and energy and I am appreciative of their love and support throughout.

My campaign team was made up of women, primarily who I met through the Western MA Women’s Fund’s LIPPI program, of which I was a 2014 graduate. I took advice from experienced Greenfield politicos, but my strategy from the start was to bring a fresh outlook to the political scene here and to present myself as an independent candidate for change. These strong, energetic, intelligent and ambitious women worked with me to ensure that our campaign decisions and approaches were thoughtful, ethical and reflective of our goals. I will forever be grateful to them for dedicating their time to understanding Greenfield, meeting so many stake-holders and ensuring that the campaign remained positive. I am proud of my decision to have them on my team as it proved successful, as we garnered 48 percent of the vote.

Sometimes facts can be negative, as when I presented facts about Greenfield such as the rising property tax rate or the School Choice money spent over the years. Presenting facts that are hard to hear is not running a negative campaign, rather, an informative campaign. I am proud that we never took to attacking anyone personally and for remaining positive even if that was not reciprocated.

I cannot thank enough the volunteers who worked so tirelessly. I wish I could name you all right here. Although I am equally grateful to all, I want to send out a special thank-you to the seniors in our community who gave of their time, money, energy and encouragement to me and my campaign. I was not expecting such a wonderful response from you folks, and I will not forget how special it was to me.

Other than winning, my goals were also to increase voter turnout. It was to start conversations about collaborative working relationships, transparency, compassionate government, getting greener, our addiction problem, a new youth and senior center, an improved downtown and our need to ensure that all residents and visitors feel welcome in our great town. My campaign celebrated Greenfield while pointing out where change could be good. I presented to Greenfield a professional campaign with a grassroots effort that included everything from old-fashioned door knocking to the extensive use of social media. My philosophy is that Greenfield deserves this kind of an effort from a candidate who wants to serve our town in a leadership capacity.

There was a historic voter turnout. Many who never voted in Greenfield before voted. Conversations about important issues have started and I hope will continue. Despite the mayor’s interpretation of a mandate after losing 48 percent of the vote to be “business as usual,” there does appear to be an effort to make changes reflective of issues I brought up in this campaign. With all this, I feel my campaign was successful and a good thing for Greenfield. For that I am proud.

I have been around many campaigns. I’ve seen the yard sign games locally and elsewhere. However, I have never seen a candidate’s lawn signs and property get vandalized AFTER LOSING an election. To the person(s) who felt the need to do this, I ask you not to fear change. I have only had the best interests of Greenfield at heart and that continues to be the case. A positive outcome of this was the outpouring of support from residents who wanted to make known that these actions do not reflect what Greenfield is all about. That is clearly the case. Greenfield is changing in many ways. Let’s embrace that.

To the 48 percent of voters who voted for change, who believed in our message and have confidence in my abilities, thank you. I will be serving Greenfield in other ways moving forward.

Finally, to the youngster who presented me with a 2015 “lucky” penny and a terrific hug at the polls on Election Day, I hope you remain interested in who leads your town, state and country. That penny will always be with me.

Thank you. We’ll get ’em next time … In order to properly show my gratitude for friends, supporters, new people I have met and people that want to meet me and my team, I invite all to a gratitude gathering on Jan. 29 at the Arts Block from 5:30 to 8 p.m. We would love this to be a community event to enjoy refreshments while reuniting, discussing the campaign and discussing the future of the Progressive agenda in Greenfield and Franklin County. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Happy New Year to all.