Solange Whitehead serves on the 7-member Scottsdale City Council. An “accidental politician,” she ran for office to protect the largest preserve in the country, the McDowell Mountain Preserve. Like most city elections across the country, candidates run as non-partisans. Whitehead supported her candidacy by knocking on thousands of Scottsdale doors. She notes that effort not money drives successful city campaigns. Knocking on doors uncovered much unity in city voters, with problems raised and solutions offered. She underscores that councilmembers serve as public servants, who need great listening skills and fewer opinions.
These skills helped the diverse council pass LBGTQ anti-discrimination protections unanimously. Whitehead notes that a government that represents the community earns the community’s trust to pass small and big initiatives. And she notes: “One thing cities always can do is answer the phones!” She and they do.
Her city public service lessons: 1. Understand that your purpose is to serve the people. 2. Listen to those people. 3. Act honorably, always.
Whitehead optimistically notes that when you listen to residents, you understand how nice and smart and optimistic they are, something our national politicians need to learn!
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