I am a new candidate for public office, and I have been wondering the best way to reach voters. I hear mixed reviews on how open our community is to door knocking, flyers, events, phone calls, mailers, etc. With that in mind, I wanted to give voters more information about me beyond what can be found in the various voters guides that are available.
I was putting something together when the Spokesman Review article came out on 9/26/19 about myself and Mr. Bob Moore running for position #5 for Liberty Lake City Council. In that article, Mr. Moore, was quoted as saying that he is, “the most qualified and experienced candidate because of [his] education, background and experience.” I wanted to take the opportunity to not only address this statement, but also to provide the community more information about me as a candidate.
Mr. Moore’s pedigree is impressive. However, I am equally qualified for this position. Mr. Moore and I grew up in remarkably different times (41 years apart) and each have unique and valuable skills to bring to the table. I’d like to highlight some of my skills here and address the question of education, background and experience to allow you to make an informed choice when your ballot arrives.
Mr. Moore has a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and a graduate degree in Credit and Financial Management from Harvard. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Justice Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Health and Human Development from Montana State University.
We have the same number of degrees.
I’m not sure how one person can have a background that qualifies you more or less for a City Council position. None the less, I simply have less background having lived only half of the years of Mr. Moore.
Growing up, it was and remains important to me that I do my best, push myself to do better, and that whatever I do in life—I make my parents and family proud. As I reflect on who I was as a teen, and where the last 43 years have take me—I think there are some great surprises that I couldn’t have imagined.
As a kid and a teen I was impossibly shy. In high school I recall a class where we had to give a speech. I got up and literally hyperventilated in front of the whole class before a peer kindly told the teacher to “just let her sit down.” I didn’t want to be shy and unconfident, so in college I pushed myself. I joined student government, I became an Orientation Leader, a Resident Advisor, a Peer Leader, and with those leadership roles I became confident to speak in front of small groups and in front of crowds of 1000 people. I became a Resident Director at 21 and became not only a supervisor but a leader of students. I won awards for the growth people recognized in me and for my mentorship of students.
I learned who I was, who I was capable of becoming, and I continue to grow and evolve with each new experience and with age. What I learned about myself was that I really enjoyed developing strategic plans and implementing them. I like building things that benefit others. I loved working with students and helping them grow and challenge themselves. I liked being a leader.
So now, as I reflect on whether I have made my family proud—I am pretty sure I have. My mother passed away last year, but I think she would have been remarkably surprised at my choice to put myself out here as a candidate for a public office. My kids have helped me all summer to put up signs, and they are very interested in the election and what it means. I don’t know if they know what pride is at eight and four years of age, but I do think they are proud to see their mama’s name out there amongst the other candidates. My dad is a dad—he wants to know how I am feeling and if I am nervous (yes!!). My husband says I am a rockstar.
Regardless if I win or lose this race, I pushed myself. It’s what I do. I push and nudge my colleagues and leaders to increase efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, engagement, understanding, and bring our A game. I have a hard time settling when I know we could excel—that is the kind of tenacity I would offer the City Council along with my time, attention to detail, and commitment to engaging our residents in our decisions. I will work as a team with fellow Council members.
I humbly submit that I am not always right and I will probably make a few mistakes along the way as I learn. I want to do something that matters, and I know I would add a balanced, informed, and connected voice to the City Council.
Mr. Moore served on the Planning Commission in Ohio, and on the City Council in the 1970’s. He has also served on the Planning Commission and the City Council in Liberty Lake.
I have no experience as an elected official.
Let me tell you a little bit about my experience that matters.
I have worked in four states in city, county and state government. I have had the opportunity to work in rural Astoria, OR, mid size towns in Montana, the urban county of Spokane, and the metro area of Denver, CO. Each area that I have worked has given me the opportunity to work with people of different cultures and ethnicities, various religions, people who speak different languages, and be exposed to different customs and traditions. That exposure has impacted how I see the world, and has made it evident that it is important to know the people in your community if you are going to be afforded the opportunity to represent them.
In Washington, I served as the regional lead and program manager for 13 counties in Eastern Washington. My role was to offer technical assistance to contracted providers to support excellence in service delivery to vulnerable populations, provide training and support to social workers, advocate for regional needs at the statewide level, serve as the technical expert in my program areas, provide clinical and case consultation, and make program and policy recommendations at the local, regional and statewide level.
As a Program Manager for 13-20 counties in Eastern Washington, I had to understand how decisions made for Spokane County might impact a more rural county like Okanogan County. Not only did I need to understand how policies and procedures needed to be adjusted, but I also had to advocate for the needs of all of Eastern Washington at times. I worked tirelessly to advocate for equitable solutions and resources for small rural and larger urban counties. I had to KNOW the people. I had to be confident, clear, thorough, and knowledgeable about data and impact in order to successfully advocate for resources on a local, regional and statewide level.
As the Performance Based Contracting (PBC) lead I was responsible for program development, implementation, support, and assessment within a catchment area of eight (8) counties in Eastern Washington. As the only lead in the State of Washington, I met with state legislators, travelled to Olympia and prepared to testify in front of our state Legislature, provided recommendations and data to DSHS and Children’s Administration executives, and served as the conduit of information between regional providers, the PBC contractor, stakeholders, the court, Children’s Administration social workers, and headquarters staff. I demonstrated excellence in applying and incorporating fundamental federal child welfare legislation and state level legislation into practice within our region.
In Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Montana I worked with families and children in traumatic and difficult situations and assessed the risk, safety, and wellbeing of the family unit as a child welfare social worker. I worked collaboratively with law enforcement, court partners, community partners and agencies, and most importantly—families in order to mitigate safety issues. I was able to positively engage clients while maintaining professionalism in complex and emotionally charged situations.
In Montana, I served as the statewide Program Coordinator for the Montana Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Project and assisted with the Montana Relatives as Parents Project. In addition to my thesis research and data collection for the Federal Children Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Project, I provided information on support groups to grandparents across the state, coordinated facilitator training sessions and educational sessions for grandparents and those who work directly with grandparents who raise their grandchildren. I gained skills in data management, quantitative and qualitative research, research design, and continued to develop my public presentation skills.
Beyond some of my work experience, my life experience makes me a relevant candidate for City Council. The median age of Liberty Lake residents was 35 in 2017. I am right here with you. I can relate to the life stages and challenges that face many residents as I am currently living them as well: work/life/family balance, parenting, supporting aging family members, upward professional mobility, how to pay for all the things, and the impact of social media and digital information on daily life are some issues that are part of this life stage.
I made a choice to take a break from the workforce and be more present with my family. This time allowed me to recharge and reconnect in a more meaningful way with my small children and my husband, travel to see family, have time to volunteer in classrooms, spend time with my mother before she passed away, and spend more time making memories. It also allowed me the opportunity to see the incredible community that I live in and immerse my family in the activities and events that make this community amazing.
Raising a family is incredibly important work and should be valued. I loved the work I was doing outside the home, but felt that I was doing my home life half way—which was hard for me as a perfectionist. I chose to pause my professional life in order to be all in on my family life, and was blessed with the opportunity to do so. It was scary to leave my job and the identity, satisfaction, and contributions I was making professionally—but it was important to me to not let my work define my life. I can always re-enter the workforce, but I can’t get this time back with my family.
I have had the chance to step back and evaluate what is important to me. My family and my community—my street, my neighborhood, and my city. I want to contribute to Liberty Lake and add our voice to issues that are presented at the County, Eastern Washington, and state level.
The experience that I can offer the City Council is human experience. Spending time with people in different life stages, listening, understanding, offering critical evaluation of current policies, procedures, and budgets and understanding how decisions impact people differently are all important pieces of work that I will offer. Most importantly, I have the ability to apply all of this information and make balanced recommendations and decisions that strengthen our community.
The Path Forward
Mr. Moore and I are on the same team—we both want what is best for our community. The biggest differences between Mr. Moore and I are age, gender and titles. Admittedly, degrees in management and financial management (from Harvard no less) fit in remarkably well with the fiscal accountability needed for our City Council. However, I believe that a candidate who is well rounded and actively connecting with residents would be a tremendous asset to the community.
I believe strongly in public service. I will never be CFO, CEO, COO, or president of any corporation. That isn’t my thing.
Public Service is my thing—and that includes experience and excellence in:
- Public Policy
- Organizational Leadership
- Budget Monitoring
- Strategic Planning and Needs Assessment
- Policy Design and Analysis
- Program Design, Implementation and Assessment
- Data Analysis
- Community Development
- Community Engagement and Outreach
- Conflict Resolution
- Quality Assurance and Performance Based Contracting
I enjoy the nitty gritty detailed work of policy and program development. I enjoy meeting with people to really understand how a decision will affect their business or their daily life. My wheelhouse is details. How they apply to policies, codes, and most importantly—people. I believe that I need to understand the full context of an issue in order to make an informed choice for our community. I can read all of the proposals, plans, minutes, and agendas. However, the best way to really understand impact of decisions is to meet with YOU.
A former boss called me her “why girl”. I prefer to understand the why, rationale, history of an issue and the data or evidence—context is often critical to full understanding and sound decisions. However, I have the ability to confidently make decisions in the absence of a great deal of information having worked in crisis driven industries like child welfare, youth shelter and group homes, and as a dispatcher for 911.
I enjoy working with people. I enjoy making things better. I prefer to hear what the issues are and then go to task to make changes. I am detail orientated. Driven. Thoughtful. Confident. Genuine. Tenacious. Kind.
I want to help lead our community through the next four years. I hope I can earn your confidence and your vote in the coming weeks.
As always, I would be happy to meet with individuals or groups should you have questions or want to get to know me better. If you like/follow my facebook page, you can learn more as well. Elect Annie Kurtz—Liberty Lake City Council Position #5.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Liberty Lake Gazette.