To the Editor:
I’ve lived in Toledo for over 50 years, and in that time I have experienced the impact that many good mayors have had on our community. Two, in my opinion, stand out: Sharon Branstiter and Billie Jo Smith. Both share a similar philosophy: put the welfare of the city and its citizens first, promote excellence and progress and work tirelessly to achieve both.
First, Billie Jo puts in the time and effort to LISTEN. No other mayor has held weekly “Chats with the Mayor” at our local businesses, giving citizens time to express their concerns and to promote local businesses. She’s occupied a booth at the Thursday Market all summer, listening, and occasionally enduring the harassment of critics. Several people mentioned to me that they brought a concern to Billie Jo and that she was very helpful in resolving their issues.
We owe Billie Jo a “Thank You” that Toledo still has a swimming pool. Rather than declare defeat when it became financially impractical for the City to maintain the pool, she served on the committee to save it. This was not a token commitment. She was very involved in the “Keep Our Pool Open” Campaign, helping to bring the issue to the voters. She remains an active supporter of the pool.
Billie Jo is hard working, intelligent and responsible. I’ve worked with her for many years in a variety of settings, both professional and volunteer. Billie Jo worked in Curriculum and Instruction for the Lincoln County School District leading groups of teachers through the complex textbook adoption process. She was thorough, prepared, and helpful. She was a colleague at Toledo High School, an innovative, excellent teacher and faculty member. Currently she and I both serve on the Foundation Board for Oregon Coast Community College. She does her homework, and is always prepared.
Finally Billie Jo is courageous; she stands up and speaks out for what she knows is right for the City of Toledo. We can ask for no more in a leader. We need to re-elect Billie Jo Smith as Toledo’s mayor.
(Editor’s note: All views expressed above are strictly those of the author.)