We're getting the band back together!

By: Minerva Dogood & Trebor Nevorg

Yes, Mayor Matt is running again! Matt has announced that he is running for a second term as mayor of Lakeville. "The last campaign was a blast, and I hope everyone who helped last time will help again- and bring three friends!" says our own Mayor Matt.

So, as loyal online followers, we asked Mayor Matt to sit down for a little pre-re-election campaign chat. Finding time in his schedule was tough, between family, law school, legal work, and oh yeah, being mayor, he's hardly got a waking moment but he agreed to answer a few questions to kick off the big campaign.

Why do you want a second term?

If I'm lucky enough to have a second term, we will continue our push for more good paying jobs in Lakeville, encouraging business development and expansion, fixing road safety issues around schools, and using technology to increase citizen participation, just to name a few.

Didn't you already do all the things you ran on for your first campaign?

(Laughter) Well, we did get the business incentive package passed, and the road reconstruction project and the streamlined approval process for development proposals and a new police position but, there's always a lot more to do. I doubt it could ever all be done. By the way, all those projects I just mentioned passed on unanimous City Council votes.

Seriously? I didn't think Lakeville's City Council ever agreed unanimously on anything.

In the past the City Council wasn't such a friendly place, but this year's been great. We've really worked well together. Not that we don't disagree, of course. But I think disagreement is healthy. What matters is how we disagree. This year we disagree in respectful and constructive ways. I've really learned a lot from the other council members. They bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the table, it's impressive. And, actually, the overwhelming majority of our votes this year have been unanimous. Even the budget, if you can believe it, passed unanimously.

You said the council agreed to streamline the approval process for development projects, how has that worked?

Basically, the council just agreed to meet as needed in person or online when business development projects required quick approval. We used all the same review criteria and safety checks, we just didn't force businesses to wait for our regularly scheduled meetings. And by the way, I'm happy to report Lakeville is now the #1 city for single-family home construction in the Metro area. That's a strong sign that Lakeville is a healthy, growing city.

A moment ago, you said the City added a new police position, what was the position and what was it for?

Ah, yes, that's important. We added a police officer to specialize in online crimes. Ever since Target's big security breach people got scared about online security. After all, when your credit card number gets stolen, your whole life can be turned upside down. Our new police position puts Lakeville on the cutting edge of fighting online crimes like identity theft and online credit card fraud.

What have you enjoyed most about being mayor?

Helping ordinary people. That's why I wanted to be mayor in the first place. This is my hometown. I really enjoy meeting people and listening to their ideas and concerns. My favorite victories are always the little ones (sorry for the pun). I most enjoy helping people fix problems that really matter to their everyday lives.

Establishing the food shelf, creating the senior center, those were my favorite projects before the mayor's election. It's the same now. Take senior transportation, for example. Most people take driving for granted, but it's crucial in this city. So, we've been working with local churches and businesses to create better transportation services for seniors who can't drive.

Or just look at the water chemical problem in West Virginia. Water sanitation may seem boring but just wait until you can't use your tap water- it'll suddenly become the more interesting subject in the whole city.

We noticed that you established the "Mayor's Office Hours" where anyone can stop by without an appointment and talk to you - how's that been going?

Excellent! 'Office hours' quickly became my favorite time at the office each week because I get to hear people's stories in their own words. I love meeting new people and just listening to their concerns. In the bigger picture, 'office hours' are also an important "town square" innovation. It's about inviting the public back into city hall, and tearing down the wall between citizens and government. It's about returning small town values to our big city.

Will the reelection campaign have a new slogan or new theme?

(Laughing) Ah, so...we haven't worked out all the campaign signs and slogans yet, if that's what you mean. I think we'll probably keep 'Little for Lakeville,' at least. If anyone has any suggestions we'd like to hear them. Now's the time before we get anything printed.

But what about the 'big picture," have you got any new themes you want to strike?

Well, I want to keep my town square theme because that really reflects what I enjoy about being mayor of my own hometown. But, I will add at least one new theme: nonpartisan pragmatism. It's the theme I started in my TEDx Lakeville speech at Lakeville South High School this fall. We waste far too much time and energy in this country striking partisan poses and repeating the same old talking points. People get so dug in, they become dogmatic and they don't even know it. Solving tough problems requires listening to ideas from any party and any perspective. We need to tear down the artificial walls we've created between citizens, city hall, business and nonprofits. Everyone with good ideas should be welcomed to the table.

I know you've got to go, any last thoughts you want to add?

Sure, three things. First, our campaign volunteers were great last time round, and I really hope each and every one of them will join us again. We need you, please volunteer again.
Second, we've hardly done any fund raising in the off season, so we really need people to step up early. It's the only way we can start to create campaign materials, flyers, and the lawn signs that people are always asking for. I know people like to wait until later in the campaign, but if people could donate early it would really help out a lot.
And third, I'm completely energized for this campaign. I think most of you know that I love campaigning- it's that whole 'cooperating to compete' thing, I suppose. It brings people together, gets people out of their houses, talking and paying attention. It puts to the lie to all the cynics who say no one cares about pubic life in America. I care, and I know you care, and campaigns bring all that good democratic emotion out into the town square. It's great, and I hope anyone who reads this and feels the same way I do will volunteer and donate and bring lots of friends.
I really believe, Lakeville is poised for great things. But they won't happen by themselves, we've got to work together make that future a reality.

Wow, you've got my 'democratic emotions' so worked up, I think I'm crying red, white and blue tears and they are now staining my shirt purple.

Yeah, but it looks really good on you.

Sorry, no, but really, I'm glad you reminded me why I was so excited to vote for you as mayor in the first election. Thanks for taking the time, Matt.

Hey, it was really fun. Thank you for all this great work.

Matt's reelection bid is now live on Facebook, Twitter and the newly remodeled web site. You can volunteer or donate on any of those sites or by emailing Matt at: LittleforLakeville@gmail.com. Matt plans several campaign events in coming months and promises this campaign will be even better than the last! Stay tuned loyal readers!

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