Saturday, February 16, 2013

The first of many last experiences

Friday, I visited the city recorders office to complete a task I started nearly 16 years ago, I closed out my election committee for the city council.  I remember opening that committee before filing in 1997 and listing myself as the secretary, and my mother Verda Mae Christensen as Honorary Chair and my brother Elliott Christensen as another Honorary Chair.  I did most of that work!  However both have been tremendous help through the years and along with other family members have made this a very rewarding experience.
Jessica helping me plant landscaping at the
construction of the Day-Riverside Library 1995
One aspect of elections is they mark your life in four year segments and when you have to get ready for a campaign, you end up taking family photos, and your life does get documented a little.  Some elections were more challenging than others, but each time I was grateful for having the residents of Salt Lake City's' District 1, be willing to give me another chance. 
Campaign Photo for 2001 Election
2001 was probably my most favorite election.  I remember calling after the filing deadline at 5 p.m. and having the City Election Clerk inform me that no one had filed to run against me.  While I'm very appreciative of the election process that was a sweet experience!  I was at work and let out a huge yell and my co-workers came into my office to find out what was wrong.  I said, "I think I just won my first re-election!"  I didn't do much campaigning and it wasn't until about three weeks out that I got paranoid that I would lose to a write-in candidate so I started distributing flyers and putting up some old signs.  I literally was the only thing on that ballot and over 1,000 people showed up for that election and only 40 didn't vote for me.  A friend who lost his-reelection that year said it reminded him of a communist election, where you can vote but only have one choice!  Ironically, I had nearly 17% turnout, which isn't that much lower than a typical year. 
Campaign Photo for 2005
My third election was a challenging one with a number of candidates.  My mother, who had always been there for me, passed away the prior year.  We had moved into my family home following her death and a lot of changes had taken place in our lives.  We did win that final election with 66% of the vote

Photo for 2009 Campaign.  Originally taken in 2008 for a failed
State Senate Race
In 2009, I was recovering from a failed bid for a State Senate race that hadn't gone great, with living in a Democratic district, where President Obama won that year in Salt Lake County.  I knew there were some things I still wanted to accomplish on the council, but wondering if my time had come.  After a couple of months, I decided to "get back on the horse" and with the help of some good friends, including the endorsement of Mayor Becker and my State Senate opponent, Luz Robles, I won that race, again with 66% of the vote. 

My oldest daughter Jessica is now a Junior at Utah State, Sarah is 6'3" and will be in 9th Grade next year, and Cathy and I will celebrate our 23rd year of marriage later this year.  Our 16 year commitment to Public Service has brought about some great experiences and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  It's been tough, discouraging at times, but we've worked our way through a variety of challenges.  Our family, in particular Sarah, has never known anything else, and somewhere, I hope that I might find an opportunity for public service.  However if this January brings nothing else, I will look back with great fondness for the wonderful opportunity afforded us as a family.  While I signed the form Friday to close my election committee, it was truly a moment looking back with great reflection.  I imagine it is the first of many "last experiences" this year.
Cathy has been by my side since Day 1, and a partner
in everything I've done!
Mayor Becker recognized the service of my
colleague, Jill Love and me in this year's
State of the City Address