I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
I have been walking in the Cudahy 4th of July parade for 7 or 8 years now with my kids. Each year, I am truly amazed at the number of people that come out from our community to show their support and pride in Cudahy.
About 5 or 6 years ago, we started to attend the Cudahy High School football games as a family. Again, I am amazed at the number of people from our community that come out and share their support of these student athletes, band members, cheerleaders, everybody involved that make Friday nights special in Cudahy.
This weekend was another community event, Sweet Apple-Wood Festival, sponsored by the Cudahy Lions Club. We attended as a family on Friday and as volunteers on Sunday. Nice crowds both days, but could always be bigger. Having been a part of the St Roman’s Parish Festival for about 15 years, as a booth captain and as a committee member, I know that festivals are somewhat different crowds, but a large number of the parishioners participated in the festival, either as an attendee or as a volunteer. From my perspective, there was something to do for people of all ages this weekend at one time or another during Sweet Apple-Wood.
At my Board for People with Developmental Disabilities retreat a couple of weeks ago, a new Board member made the comment that we are a “working” Board. In talking with her, she said that she knows many of the Board members because they are active in their community, they are visible. They are not just sitting on the Board so it looks good on a resume. As a Board we are connected to our community.
I think that the one thing that does jump out at me at all of these events is the lack of visibility of our local leaders, specifically the alderpersons. At the parade, I was told that the Mayor and only 3 of the alderpersons participated. I can’t remember ever seeing an alderperson at a football game. Finally, at the Sweet Apple-Wood Festival, I only saw 1 alderman on Friday and none on Sunday. I saw the Mayor on Friday at the closing of Camp Invention; he shared with me his family commitments this past weekend so I understand why he was unable to attend Sweet Apple-Wood Days.
I think what bothers me the most here in Cudahy, is that not all of our elected officials give me the impression that they think they have any responsibilities to the community, other than attending meetings. I do think that they do have a responsibility to be visible in our community. There are very few community events that I attend within Milwaukee County where I don't run into at least one elected official. When leadership shows pride in their community, it rubs off on its members. A strong, active and vibrant community is a community where people want to live and raise a family, want to open businesses and want to be an active member of their community.
Your absences do not go unnoticed. Many people ask where you are and why you’re not there.
I challenge all of our elected officials. You chose to run to be a representative of the citizens of Cudahy. With that, comes a responsibility, more than just attending meetings a couple of hours per month. You need to be visible and active in your community, not just at 5050 S Lake Drive, but in all of the 53110 zip code. I hope to run into each of you in the community soon.