DEB McDERMOTT - Candidate for Sea Cliff Village Trustee
My running for Trustee has made this a contest, an opportunity for all candidates to put in their best effort, and it also is serving as a tool for engaging our community in questions about how we want to move forward. I have a different background, experience and community ties from the other candidates. My expertise is in communications and would serve the community by helping to bring more openness and transparency to our government. I have two kids in Sea Cliff School and many of my friends are also parents of young children.
Transparency isn’t about sharing information to meet the requirement of the law. Transparency is about engaging people. Transparency is sharing information broadly in a way that makes it easy for people to understand the issues, to know when they need or can voice their points of view, to know when and what actions they can take.
This kind of transparency, sharing information broadly, openly and with the intention of making it easy and desirable for others to be informed and engaged is also about sharing power. When people are empowered they become engaged and advocate for themselves, their families and their communities. This is an important --vital -- piece of community building: empowering people through sharing information.
There is not a day that I have lived here that I don’t feel lucky and grateful for being here. I love Sea Cliff. My young children are having an experience of childhood that is radically rare in 2017. They walk to school and play in the parks with a freedom my nieces and nephews in other places have never known. The sense of rootedness, connection, and belonging is the best foundation for a happy life. As a parent this is important to me. As a citizen, this is where I want to be and I want to contribute to ensuring this way of life continues for my children and I hope for their children and beyond.
Sea Cliff faces real challenges: the privatized water company, the pressure of large scale development in surrounding areas, and how to reclaim and protect our environment (especially Hempstead Harbor), without also creating opportunity for high density development within Sea Cliff (a possible side-effect of sewers) are the biggest issues that will require consistent, long term attention. I believe these issues will require all of us to work together as well as Sea Cliff seeking out and building coalitions and alliances with other villages, towns, and groups to gain greater influence at the town, county and state level. I’ve been engaged in exactly this kind of coalition building with our school district and several others for the last four years.
My professional background is in communications. Most of my career has been in technology companies, with 14 years at IBM. I have a facility with electronic communications and understand how to use them to reach people. My work on North Shore’s Board of Education’s Legislative Action Committee has also shown me the importance of showing up where people are to keep them informed. I am offering my skills and experience in communications to our village because I believe that we can better share information and power and better engage our citizens. I believe this open, transparent, empowering approach is the foundation we need to face the challenges in front of us and to maintain the way of life that Sea Cliff is.
This is my vision for how our Village government can work. My view of a good trustee is someone who holds these principles in her heart and mind, doing her best to act on them everyday. This village is a place, but it has been and continues to be created by its people. I am, in this case, seeking to lead us in the direction of openness, transparency, shared power and responsibility with the preservation of this beautiful place and community as the goal. If this approach makes sense to you, vote for Deb McDermott on March 21.
There is more information about me on www.debmcdermott4seacliff.com.
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