So now it's time for me to respond.
When the 9B Delegate seat was created, my first thought was about Main Street. Not so much the concept, but literally the rusted out tricycle for sale next to a basket of cowboy boots. The promise of a theater marquee at the intersection with Old Columbia Road. Movie Nights at The Wine Bin. Endless discussions about trash and parking. Flooding. I thought about this place and how whomever took that seat would need to love that place more than anything else, because the people there weren't always going to love you back. I thought about how big the problems were and how limited the means to address them.
I decided to run because I knew I could invest myself in those issues without needing the pat on the back along the way. I also cared enough to look past the stereotypical issues and get into the meat of the problem (i.e., views on flooding change dramatically from West End to the Business District, but most people don't take the time to learn the difference).
And when I ran my campaign, I told myself that the only way to do this job well was to build as big of a coalition as possible so that individual issues can obtain the power of the many. Advocacy gains strength in numbers, particularly when you can communicate how those issues overlap. Education, Environment, Economy, Small Business, Energy, Transportation. All connected.
Underneath all of that, I knew that I would also have an opportunity to work for the people who didn't share an advocacy group. The small business owner who was still trying to make it into the middle class. The homeless mother trying to obtain healthcare for her child. The re-entry candidate who couldn't find a job.
We didn't so much choose to use the phrase "Opportunity for Ellicott City" as much as it just bubbled up from our work. Everything about this seat is an opportunity - an opportunity to do something great for people who really need it.
Which makes Mr. Corkran's piece just sad. It's sad to me that someone who wants to lead is so scared and so angry that this makes sense. To dehumanize another person wishing to serve in this manner was almost shocking.
Well, not almost. You were shocked. I came back from a short family trip to over 50 e-mails, texts, and phone messages. You read that correctly. Some were from people I had known five years, others from those I've barely known five weeks. Here's what you did:
- Sent letters to the editor condemning negative campaign tactics;
- Confronted Rich Corkran directly;
- Solicited contributions, and other support, from friends who received the piece;
- Made me laugh on Twitter;
- Offered to knock on doors;
- Doubled your previous donations.
I don't think Mr. Corkran got the return on investment he was looking for, but don't plan to let that be a matter of guesswork. We'll be sending out mail of our own, confirming that this election is a matter of opportunity and not mud-slinging. And you can be sure it will cost money. If you support what I'm doing here, and reject the unfortunate behavior of my opponent, I need your help. You can contribute through this link or mail checks to:
Friends of Tom Coale
4739 Columbia Road
Ellicott City, MD 21042
And I'm going to continue to make a promise to you that my primary opponent clearly never made to his supporters: Not one single dollar will be used to attack another person wishing to serve. That's not leadership.
Leadership means building a team:
Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!!! And know that you all mean a lot to me.