Note: This is the first in a series of eight public endorsements I’ll be making on my blog before the primary on Tuesday, September 11.
I didn’t actually meet Kathleen Patterson the first time I saw her. As many of you know, I’m deeply involved in the politics and policy of the Red Clay School District. As part of the District’s capital and new-school referenda platforms earlier this year, the District held a series of public meetings to answer questions the public may have. At a meeting at Shortlidge Academy in mid-winter, I sat in a room with two other community members I didn’t know before the meeting but have since become good friends with. One of those people was Kathleen Patterson.
Kathleen asked some very pointed questions of the District leaders in the meeting. At times I felt District leadership may have been bristling at some of her direct questions. As the president of the 9th Ward Civic Association, Kathleen did a great job representing the interests of her association members. Why should they vote for the capital referendum? Why should they vote for a new school in Hockessin that would very likely not benefit her constituents?
I didn’t see Kathleen for a while. I saw her again around the time I was working on Kenny Rivera’s campaign for school board. Our mutual friend Victoria Kent did a proper introduction and our personalities just meshed. I’ve been a Kathleen Patterson supporter ever since.
The residents of the 2nd Councilmanic District have a choice. Wilmington is in a state of flux. They have a current city councilman who made many promises when he first ran in 2008. He’s highly visible in the District, but he simply hasn’t delivered on all the promises or brought anything of substance to the 2nd. He has a nice local access television show and it’s true many city residents love watching local personalities on that station. But what good is it if the wrapping is shiny but the gift inside is nothing short of useless? In short, her opponent Trippi Congo is a “brand entity” in Wilmington, but there is not much substance. In fact, that’s a problem with much of the leadership in Wilmington. Individuals who can work a community event and get lots of political support and votes, but do little in the way of true activism and legislative service that can make a difference in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in the city.
Kathleen Patterson is not always an easy woman. And that’s a good thing. She’s not making outlandish promises. The only promise she’s making is to listen and do her absolute best to represent the interests of those she’s charged with representing in City Hall. She’s out there challenging common wisdom. She’s asking thoughtful questions that require thoughtful responses. She’s listening to those who need to be heard. She’s interested in solutions, but realizes they’re not always easy to find. If elected, she’ll be an asset to not only her constituents, but an often dysfunctional city government that, quite frankly, needs more intelligent and thoughtful members among its ranks.
Kathleen Patterson for the 2nd Councilmanic District. The residents of the 2nd need her. And, more importantly, the City of Wilmington would do well to have her voice in the mix.