On July 22 this year, I called the City Clerk's office to find out what I would need to do to run for Ann Arbor District Library Trustee. At 1:30 PM I learned I had until 4:30 PM that day to file and I was in my office in Jackson, Michigan at work. Oh- AND it was The Ann Arbor Art Fair and I had to park and get to the office on Main St in that same window. I had to make a decision- and I decided to try. I called my wife Tami and had her meet me in the parking lot of the Rite Aid at Westgate so she could drive me down Huron and dump me off on main. Literally running, and literally with minutes to spare I complete my application as the clerk's office closed around me.
Having no political experience, I formulated a campaign strategy in the dark. My first order of business was to reach out to all my friends and colleagues online and ask for your help and support to build a grassroots campaign. Since I asked you all for your support, you have helped me reach out to more than 38000 voters. In just over three months, we have exceeded anything I thought possible. Thank you sincerely for everything you have done. Even small gestures have proven to have an enormous collective impact and being part of something like this has humbled me.
I am grateful to those of you who I have know for years and have come out to support me. I owe a good deal of thanks to people who I hadn't heard from in a while and to new friends who I began working with only recently. I had to lean on my family a great deal at a time where I was working by day, teaching by night, coaching football 5 days a week with my son, and trying to run for office. My wife and my kids have been generous in giving my time to do something I have always wanted to do. The time I have had for them the past three months has been scarce at best. One way or another I look forward to giving back some of that time after tomorrow.
During this process I have had a chance to meet many wonderful people, including many of the other candidates running for AADL Trustee. As there are four seats among which, I can only occupy one. I wish you all good luck tomorrow. I also had a chance to engage in an exercise that caused me to think and reflect on things other than family and profession. Being able to write again and share ideas with people gave me a real sense of purpose- one I have not felt before. To anyone who took the time to talk with me about the AADL, whether we ultimately agreed or not, I appreciated the conversation.
The one theme I have heard over and over again in my conversations with people in the community and in our conversations online nationally, is that this is an important election. A lot is at stake in this election. As I sat in the audience at the A2NAACP Freedom Fund dinner last night, I had the privilege to listen to future politicians from our local schools. Their message to us was simple. Vote! I left knowing that the huge accomplishments of the past eight years are at risk. And while Library Board in Ann Arbor is not a national concern, it is a piece of this election cycle. Voting your ballot all the way down becomes a statement of your position to move our country forward at all levels of elected office or to allow us to step backward.
If anything has come across the past few weeks I hope it is the following. I want to serve in public office for the same reason I work in education. I want to make things better and I believe that literacy, education, and an informed and educated citizenry is the lynch pin to doing so. It is what drives me as an educator, a father, a husband, and as a candidate for the Ann Arbor District Library board.
Thank you to everyone who has helped, volunteered, and shared with me in this process. I wish my fellow candidates for AADL Trustee the best of luck tomorrow. Regardless of your proclivity and affiliation, the last thing I ask is that you exercise your right to vote tomorrow. Vote!
Dr. Steven Simpson is currently the President of Baker College of Jackson and is seeking a position on the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees in the November 2016 election. Additional information about Dr. Simpson and his candidacy can be found at www.simpsonaadl.com. You can reach Dr. Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter@simpsonaadl.