Thank you – thank you to my friends for being here, my mentors, students, former bosses, now friends, and anyone who took time on this Sunday evening to celebrate this special day. Thank you to God for bringing us together and for all the opportunities you provide each of us. Although, in some ways, I feel like my entire life has been leading up to this moment today, and I know in my mind I could say so many different things to so many different people, and about this day … I struggled a bit with which
direction to go. I spent about an hour this afternoon listening to some of President Reagan’s greatest speeches – and reflecting on his messages. I wonder what he would say if he were here today and what he would say to lift us and keep us moving forward. I think that’s such a key part of leadership – lifting people, encouraging them, inspiring them, and helping them find the strength to do what they may not believe is possible.
People ask why – why run?
Because I believe in service and solid leadership. I have looked into the eyes of our band students for 15 years every day, as their Coach, they look at me for inspiration, guidance, and many days, hope. They ARE the “NEXT” greatest generation. I’ve tried to model for my students the importance of building relationships, managing conflict, and finding a compromise. I saw in 2020, how they rose above all challenges with COVID to attend in-person band instruction, kept one another safe, and went on to win the first UIL State Championship in San Antonio since 1985 – the year I was born. I will strive to inspire and lead as I have our band students and help D9 be a shining example for all communities in San Antonio.
We are increasingly told we must choose between a left or a right … I’d like to suggest there is no such thing, only an up or a down. We are either proactively making decisions to invest and increase in the things that make our community so great – or we are resigned to a downward decline. Are the decisions and actions we make serving in the best interest of protecting core values, or are they eroding them? When each of us is so different that it’s hard to know what those common values are – we can always come back to our freedom. Our ability to have debate, dialogue, and argument is so precious. We cannot take it for granted.
I love the river – in 2020, when everything shut down, fortunately, Texas waterways are public, and “The Float In” opened as quickly as possible. I grew up at the Jersey shore, and I admit it’s about the only thing I miss about being a Yankee – proximity to the ocean. My parents live in a condo on the beachfront now, and I know it will be where they live for the remainder of their days. I’m a water bug – and the Comal River helped me weather the storm in 2020, that and my good friends Kris and Courtney, Dave and
Svenja, whom we found that time there together to be healing.
I think a lot about water – and in Texas, it’s something I am always considering, given our potential to end up as a desert someday.
Confucius says in the battle of the river and the rock, the river will always win. Not through strength but through persistence.
This can apply to community and values – the group that pushes the hardest will continue to chip away at the rock a little at a time. We can choose to be the river, pushing back against the status quo… pushing back against the growth of government… pushing back against politicians and leaders who take advantage of our compassion and trust … or we will end up as the rock. The river will erode our freedoms, community, and future a little at a time.
Though the sentiment is a noble one – Clearly, Confucius didn’t live in Texas, where the river can run dry at any moment. All it takes for the momentum of the American values we hold so dear to disappear is a drying out of the passion, love, and gratitude for how lucky we are to be in our country. I love that our youth question things – I also want them to understand how lucky we are to live in a free country where they can live, work, and play as they choose – when so many places around the world struggle with those fundamental freedoms. American history is messy, and we aren’t a perfect republic, but fighting for something as special as our freedom, requires an all-handson-deck approach from everyone in our community.
So, we start at the grassroots level – the local level. We work to support those public servants, our first responders, and our law enforcement who give so much to protect us. Who do we call on when we are scared or in danger? The police. I will be a relentless advocate for public safety. We invest in our community to provide and beautify and safe place for our children to grow up and our elderly to grow old in. Our public servants deserve the best benefits and salary – they put their lives on the line daily to protect us.
If the police say it doesn’t make sense – why do we do it? Trust the experts – maybe you’ve noticed on RING or NEXTDOOR that every day, there is a new list of auto break-ins or home burglaries in D9. How do we solve this problem? Call the experts – SAPD is incredible – let’s keep our faith in the folks who know how to manage this, support their benefits and pay, increase their numbers, build morale, and make our neighborhoods safe again. And as a teacher – we have been beaten down, and our police are beaten down. This new justice charter amendment reminds me of state testing mandates and more paperwork and regulation. You need to learn more about this proposed amendment and see how it will weaken our community and lead to a less prosperous San Antonio.
We fight to keep government in its lane and keep it from expanding so that it cannot erode our freedom to make the decisions that we know best about our lives. No one knows how to run your life better than you. And we will build a culture of respect and love for all Americans – we will model the behaviors we want so badly to see in our society.
In District 9, our infrastructure is aging – like a house or a car, if we don’t maintain it, it will not last. And the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets to repair – preventative maintenance and proactive repair vs. reactive. Our traffic solutions have been reactionary, and we know the wheels of government move slowly, which is why we need to have less of it!! But – we also know the squeaky wheel gets the grease – we must be persistent and relentless in pursuing the things that support our community.
Are we keeping our water on? Power affordable – do we have parks and animal care locations – we pay some of the highest taxes and the most percentage of the budget, but our councilman plays nice with others at the expense of our district. He claims he listens – and maybe he does – but we can do better! We need the ears of an award winning band director who has practiced listening to his entire career – I’m pretty good at it!
In closing, to quote Reagan again, he said… “History will record with the greatest astonishment that those who have the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.”
District 9 – we have so much to GAIN and everything to lose if we don’t fight back against the status quo. Together, we can make a difference in our community and local government so that District 9 can serve as a model of freedom, independence, and strong community.
Our NEXT greatest generation deserves nothing less.