This is my first post, and I wondered how I might begin. A bout of spring cleaning supplied my answer.
As I was digging around in my shed, by happy coincidence I found a flier that I used when I first ran for Council in 1995. I was 22.
Good god, in 1995, I had a pony tail. Stop it. Stop laughing.
I cringe a little when I look back and think of how earnest and callow I was back then, but I also feel some pride that the things that mattered to me, and upon which I was prepared to advance myself for public office, have not changed all that much in the intervening decades.
And here’s something I forgot existed: Part of the web page I created for my next run in 1999:
Cringe. I am. A lot of high-minded, rather snarky rhetoric not particularly backed by life experience. But again, some premonition of things that are still important to me now: a concern for preserving the semi-rural amenity of our district, a seeking of balance between the contending forces of progress and conservation in our district, and a strong belief in making our elected leaders accountable. Missing, perhaps, was an appreciation of the benefits of a growing, thriving economy, the advantages of limited development accompanied by proper planning, or a knowledge of how local realpolitik works.
This is a snapshot of where I come from.
Here’s another: I was deeply influenced during my childhood by growing up in part at my grandparent’s property at Glenhaven, nearby in the Hills District. My personal heritage spans the Hills and the Hawkesbury in equal measure. Seeing Glenhaven built out begninng in the 1980s, and seeing it lose its semi-rural aspect in the name of progress broke my heart. I have written about my childhood experiences growing up there in several articles. Here’s one, A Bouquet for Jacarandas, and another, Abandoning the Cubby. Those links are to my personal blog, where I have occasionally made political commentary, but now all my political posts will be here. Yes, I have eclectic tastes.
The two greatest influences upon me, politically, were my grandfather Harry Holland, and former Hawkesbury Mayor, Doctor and friend, Rex Stubbs. Both were deeply invested in their communities and exemplified the kind of common sense needed in public life. Both have passed from us, sadly, and I miss them both terribly. But my hope is to deliberate and act in such a way as would have made them proud. I remembered my late grandfather in this article, written 20 years after he died, and about Dr Rex Stubbs in this piece I wrote when he died in 2010.
If, in public life, I ever show an inclination to be untrue to the convictions I gained in my youth, or from those who mentored me, please remind me.