By Carletta Knox-Seymour
As a former Cedar Rapids City Council at-large candidate, I would like to openly express my thoughts of those who supported me by way of endorsements, time, energy, financial contributions and votes.
Though I did not win election, I believe I won in ways that are perhaps immeasurable. During this campaign journey, I won the affection of people who did not know me. I won the hearts of men and women, black and white, who encouraged me to go forward, to continue the race and stay my course and not give up. I won the respect of many people who changed their way of thinking toward me.
From the time I asked people to sign my petition to get me on the ballot, right up to the time of both elections, I won the opportunity to meet my fellow citizens up close and personal and understand their needs, be it individual or as a neighborhood. I, who had very little money for this campaign, but a lot of fortitude, became very rich during this process with the support, kindness, grace and love people dared to show me — including my youngest supporter, 12-year-old Matt Haile.
The Gazette Editorial Board’s endorsement of me did not get me elected. It did, however, say that they believed there was enough merit in my qualifications as a candidate to be an effective leader for Cedar Rapids. As this was my first time seeking an elected office, I am deeply grateful for The Gazette giving me a serious look.
This campaign process helped me to develop as a human being. It opened my eyes to many challenges that face our city. It helped me to see an even greater need to bring diversity to leadership positions so our city government reflects more of its citizenry.
Every question I had to answer for The Gazette’s guest column, the Voter’s Guide and Podcast, the Metro Economic Alliance group, the Hawkeye Labor Council, the League of Women Voters Linn County forum, the Wellington Heights Association forum, the Day Break Rotary forum, the Kenwood Park Association forum, the Northwest Neighbors meet and greet, WMT’s radio interview, the Linn County Democratic Central Committee forum and the Noon Day Rotary forum gave me a chance to think critically about Cedar Rapids and how to solve some of our issues. It helped me to look at our city not only in its broadest terms, but also in its complexities.
Because of this profound experience, I cannot go back to my former way of thinking or living.
Because I remain serving as a second-term City Planning Commissioner, I shall continue to help make recommendations to City Council to enhance the quality of life in our city.
I thank all those who voted for me and believed in a more diverse leadership. God bless you all.
l Carletta Knox-Seymour was an at-large candidate in the Nov. 5 Cedar Rapids election and the Dec. 6 runoff. Comments: email@example.com