Monday, October 26, 2009

LoWV Candidate Panel Conclusion Speech

Tonight we had the last major Town Council candidate panel which was hosted by the League of Women Voters. I'll post the link to it as soon as it is up on-line. In the meantime, here is my concluding speech from it:

Since arriving in the fall of 2006, I’ve come to know the citizens of Blacksburg and the surrounding region. The kindness and eagerness to say hello to each other shows what a great community we are in and gives hint of how much more we can become as we grow. I am an avid environmentalist and have been involved with the Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech for four years. I was at the first meeting with President Steger for what would become the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan. As a community organizer, I’ve worked with many students and citizens to involve them in local, state, and national lobbying efforts. I’ve organized events big and small from panels with opposing groups to being a central organizer and recruitment coordinator for the statewide conference, Virginia Power Shift 2008 in which 400-500 youth from across the state came for. I was awarded the Gwin-Parker-Gwin community service award for my efforts for that conference.

As the only undergraduate student running for Blacksburg Town Council, I have been reaching out to the student community through the creation of a Student Advisory Committee within the Student Government Association to serve as a voice of students between Town and Gown. I am on the Town and Gown Relations Committee and was invited by the Mayor to serve on Mayors Task Force on Climate Protection and Sustainability. I am eager to continue the expansion of my engagement once the intensity of the campaign subsides next week.

I am passionate about our community because I feel that it is truly is a special place. While there are certainly issues that need to be collaborated on in our community, I have seen firsthand the compliment diversity serves in forming our community. I’m excited to live here because there is always something new to learn and engage with. The fall is a great time to enjoy the vibrant football season and have delight at a morning bike ride down the colorful Huckleberry Trail. The winter, while certainly windy and chilly, is a good time to enjoy a good game of pool and beer (or hot chocolate) with friends Downtown or to see a movie at the Lyric. The spring, in an overnight burst, is an overwhelming reminder of the mountainous beauty our community resides in. Finally, there is the tranquility of summer, where free afternoons invite you to the New River and evenings lure you to your porch to enjoy company or read a good book.

In regards to my employment after the election, I am lucky to have been presented with a variety of opportunities from local non-profits, environmental businesses, educational programs, as well as graduate school. I am devoted to making a positive difference in our community and am eager to continue the expansion of my engagement for years to come.

Let us bring together our resources and passions to help better serve the needs and desires of everyone in our community. The Blacksburg Comprehensive Plan is a great guide of how we can grow as a community in the next several decades. The future we pursue must be a sustainable one, and sustainable practices compliment community development. Whether we’re talking about the potential at the Blacksburg Middle School, or the future at First and Main, or taking our government on-line through web interactivity, or actively engaging students to have a voice in governance and the future of Blacksburg—let’s work together in making this the community we all want it to be.

I feel privileged to call Blacksburg my home, and look forward to what the future holds.

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