Ridgely Fuller announces candidacy for Belfast City Council

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 8:00pm

    It is with excitement that have announced my candidacy for Belfast City Council from Ward 3.

    I’m excited because community building is in my blood, and the City Council should be a key partner in building community, especially during these times. True community building depends on listening to the voices, and incorporating the needs of a diverse population: from youth, seniors, and working families, to the economically-advantaged and un(der)employed. Community building also considers the natural resources on which we and future generations depend.

    Among the many issues we face, the climate crisis comes first and will require the most cohesive community response as our goal must be transformative: energy independence by 2030. This will require developing resiliency, including transportation, secure food systems, renewable energy, and building efficiency. Successful resiliency will extend to all edges of our community, including the most vulnerable among us. I’m grateful for the leadership our city government has undertaken in these areas, and I look forward to furthering the effort through community involvement and new ideas, such as asking that our Council consider the carbon footprint of every proposal under consideration.

    We all love Belfast for its quirky vibrancy. But our charm both increases pressure for growth and presents a struggle for families who live in increasingly unaffordable homes. I believe that achieving a stable and prosperous community will require a citywide plan for ​local economic development based on ​local ownership. Other critical ingredients will include affordable housing, good jobs, cutting edge broadband, and relentlessly advocating for quality health care for all. This will also help to attract young families, as well as bring our grown children home. We need to come to grips with these economic challenges and work together to develop a homespun plan so that we are not at the mercy of outside developers. I suggest resurrecting the economic development committee to assist city staff.

    Meeting these challenges requires deepening our democratic processes and engagement. We need to make more consistent opportunities to truly engage in discussion and planning with our City Councilors. This is collaboration. This is community building, where a variety of often-divergent ideas are welcomed and respected. As City Councilor, transparency will be a key value of mine. In terms of civic engagement, I’m deeply inspired by the volunteer commitment in Belfast, yet many needs remain unmet. I believe that City Hall could be the logical hub to post opportunities, coordinate volunteers, and identify unmet needs.

    My interest in community building comes from my life-long career as a social worker—a clinician, organizer and project-administrator working in schools, homes and agencies with children, adults and families. With good reason, business backgrounds are well-represented on our Council, but I believe a social worker’s perspective—grounded in human relationships and community—is just as important. That is why, with excitement, I am running for City Council.

    Ridgely Fuller can be reached at Ridgely4Belfast@gmail.com