My parents taught me, and I have passed the same onto my boys, that basic values we hold true must guide all our decisions and if made with utmost integrity then there are no regrets and we sleep better. This is not easy to constantly follow as temptations, feelings and other factors try to persuade us to act differently.
In my 30 years living in Summit, I’ve been told that our local elections are about our neighbors and friends and for the most part I would agree. I know many of our elected officials from the varied experiences we’ve share in Summit. Many, if not all, are qualified in some way based on their skills and passions. All, also have growth opportunities, as they step into a political role as anyone of us would in a new job or volunteer role. With this logic you could say that any local candidate is good. But here is where our votes, my vote, is defined by my deepest values.
So why am I voting for Marjorie Fox as our Ward 2 Council woman? Let’s start with the understanding that she is qualified, but why else will I vote for her.
I’ve known Marjorie for about 17 years. We first met as our sons explored programs at The Connection – just about a year after they left the National YWCA. We talked a lot during those times about our families, our career aspirations, our desires for our families, our concerns, our values and got to know each other through our boys. Our paths crossed on and off throughout the years as we each engaged in our different careers, our volunteer efforts and the activities driven by our children.
Here is what I remember from our first meeting and admired in her throughout our interactions over the years - Marjorie’s ability and focus on active listening – really listening to the other person naturally without any pretense or effort. Active listening abilities are critically important in counseling, training, negotiations, conflict resolution and just plain old leadership. It requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said. I am sure that this ability has served Marjorie well in practicing law and in driving many of the environmental projects she has made come alive in Summit – projects which have significantly saved money for the City of Summit and have helped our environment.
This natural ability, which many leaders have to train for years to learn, is one of the fundamental reasons I’m voting for Marjorie. She WILL listen to us, the citizens of Summit. She will listen to ALL the citizens of Summit. She will collaborate effectively with other members of council, the mayor and city staff not only because she’s worked with them before but because she listens and uses this skill to draw out the best in each one of us.
Two other values that I hold very deeply in my life are reliability and integrity. In all my years of working in corporate America and in all of my volunteer work, the best relationships and outcomes have been delivered by people whom you can rely on and who work with the utmost integrity. Marjorie has demonstrated in her work, in her volunteer activities in the city, in schools, in her religious community and in her personal relationships, that she is reliable – she delivers what she committed to deliver with no doubt in our minds that there are any strings attached to benefit her personally. Marjorie is running because she believes there are issues in our city that are not being heard and not being addressed and she knows that with collaboration, reliability, integrity and creativity, new solutions can be brought forth to address these issues.
Finally, Marjorie believes in transparency – as do I. If you are working to address the issues you have said you want to address, if you are listening to all the citizens, if you have nothing to personally gain from the work except exactly what all the other residents will gain, if you believe that every citizen has a voice and an opportunity to recommend solutions that can benefit all, then what is there to hide? Transparency with integrity states that we can expect Marjorie to listen to the issues, engage us in the decision making process, tell us what she plans on delivering and then delivering it.
Because voting is personal and because Marjorie delivers on the values that I hold deeply -- active listening, reliability, integrity and transparency -- I am casting my vote on Marjorie Fox as our next Ward 2 Councilwoman.
Gloria M. Ron-Fornes