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Congratulations to election winners

As we wait for the results of the national election, one that shows a country very divided and struggling to find answers to deep challenges, I wanted to send a word of congratulations and welcome to those who were successfully elected in our fine community on Nov. 3.

To our Mayor-elect Julie Akins, to our incoming councilors and Parks commissioners, thank you for putting yourselves forward and your willingness to serve our community. This really isn’t a win/lose situation, what you have been granted is the opportunity to serve further, in a rather intensive manner and to take on the challenges and issues of this community.

I did not vote for all of you, I did not support your candidacy. These are the things of the campaign, but the campaign is over and you have earned your position to help lead our community forward. I wish you the very best and will be happy to help when and where I can as I believe we share a love for this community, and that love should be what unites us.

For those who were not elected, we owe you a full degree of gratitude for standing for election, giving the democratic process the vitality it requires, and to stand for this robust examination by a community, answer hundreds of questions, meet thousands of people — and, I hope, make a few new friends along the way.

In thinking of the people who ran and did not gain office, I think all of you gained in reputation and appreciation in the community. I sincerely hope you will find places to lend your time and talent; this community needs your leadership and engagement. At the very least you should have our respect and appreciation.

As we usher in a new era I also hope we will tackle our challenges with less negative and unproductive contention and confrontation. We can and should disagree, some times mightily, with each other, but we should move away from the language of diminishment and dismissiveness that we find repulsive at the national level. I hope we will focus our attention and effort into building upon the assets of this community, make for a more inclusive and accepting community. A community that reaches for its higher and better self. We have many challenges and there is much to be done.

As I leave public office, I do want to say a big thank you to the good citizens of Ashland. You have been kind and supportive. I say that 95% of the community is respectful, thoughtful and dedicated to effective communication, even if it is very robust at times.

It has been my honor and privilege to have been elected twice and to have served. I love this community and I look forward to its future. I believe we have the skills and talent to continue to make a better place. It is not easy work, but it is important work, and we are blessed to be able to do it here, in this place and time.

Dennis Slattery is a member of the Ashland City Council.