Jay says Holland has “no vision.” Perhaps what this means is most of us on City Council haven’t bought into “HIS vision.” In contrast, I believe in the power of SHARED VISIONS. Picture all of our city’s impressive landmarks and engaging touchpoints,from north to south, east to west. It is no wonder Holland has won many national and international awards. Our quality of life, visual appeal, social support networks, schools, city services, and our economic vitality are second to none.
Holland is recognized, respected, and trending up. We are an increasingly popular destination. This didn’t happen by accident.
While I can’t take credit for the dedicated work of our city employees and first responders, our business leaders and entrepreneurs, our BPW, our citizen committees, our school boards and teachers, and our non-profits and churches – I’ve done my best to encourage and connect the many exciting SHARED VISIONS that contribute to the betterment of our city. This is what an effective Mayor does.
I believe our city grows stronger by reaching out and connecting residents, newcomers, influencers, and investors to our multi-faceted purpose-driven and heartfelt SHARED VISIONS rather than attempting to direct and control a singular vision out of the mayor’s Office.
We are blessed to live in a dynamic and diverse community. As Mayor, I believe everyone has their own unique circumstances and concerns to share, and whether I personally agree or disagree, everyone is entitled to be warmly welcomed and treated with dignity and respect. I’ve seen Jay use offensive language at City Council meetings to bully and intimidate. This may not seem like a big deal for some, but it is to me. I believe there are kind and proper ways to treat people.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I believe in the Golden Rule. Treating each person as you would like to be treated yourself works. As you may know, the issue of inserting LGBT into “protected class” status within the city housing ordinance is a controversial and difficult topic, largely because of the looming legal battles brought on by the ever-evolving and ever-changing definitions of sexual identity.
I respect every individual’s sexual identity. And I’m proud to tell you our city’s Human Relations Commission has reported absolutely zero cases of discrimination due to sexual identity during the two years I’ve been Mayor.
On the day after the election, one of these results will be true:
more than 50 years ago, JFK said future progress must include carrying forward cherished traditions as well. I believe this to my core. City leadership should focus and work on long-term strategies — not rush into quick fixes and unintended consequences. So I’ll admit I don't jump on the “what’s trending” bandwagon without close scrutiny. We are a strong and vibrant city – and like any successful business, school, church, or organization– we must build on our strengths.
We must always assess how every proposed city initiative or policy could impact:
Unlike a city councilman representing a ward, I’ve kept the quality of life of the 33,000 residents of Holland in mind every day as Mayor. This is why I’ve fought to keep Airbnb and short-term rentals confined to our commercial areas only.
Consider how our city government is structured. Our City Charter does not allow a “strong mayor" model, like those in Chicago or Detroit.
The nine of us currently on Council (eight men and myself ) share equal voting and agenda-setting power. And, in accordance with our charter, it is the City Manager who develops and sets the agenda. The Mayor’s role is intentionally designed to be a connector, not a controller.
Since it is the Mayor who runs the Council meetings, I have welcomed and been fair to every idea and proposal brought to us, whether I agree with it or not. I believe this approach invites more people to get comfortably involved in shaping the future course of our city.
No one person made our city the wonderful place it is. It takes the participation of many diverse hands, hearts, teams, and partnerships. And my track record proves I work well with all of them.
It would be an honor to continue connecting Holland’s unique strengths and character to prospective families, newcomers, influencers, investors, and entrepreneurs on your behalf.
I hope I have earned your vote on Election Day. It would be an honor to serve you as Mayor for another two years. I sincerely thank you for your time and consideration.