Now and again, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, and I usually only have two things to be grateful for. This year, however, there are three! Our community came together once again and supported my re-election to the NHUSD school board. Now that the election has been certified, I wanted to acknowledge the victory and express my gratitude. I will mention a few people and organizations here, but this list is in no particular order and is certainly not complete– if I were to try to be exhaustive, this post would be so long, I don’t think many people would get through it! Below are a few highlights that I would like to mention in no particular order:

Tina and my girls. I know that campaign season is hard on our family, but you all have been fantastic for putting up with my distractions, crazy schedule, and taking calls at dinner time (which we all agree is a big no-no). I am grateful that you understand the importance of this work. I love you all.

Kalani Seymore. Wow, you are amazing. While knocking on doors during the campaign, I talked to people who worry about this country’s future– citing your generation’s (lack of) leadership, motivation, and vision. When I tell them that everything will be alright, I describe principled, intelligent, honest, and courageous young people like you. I’m not worried at all. I am grateful for having a small hand in the great path you are making for yourself and the world.

Michelle “Shorty” Parnala. You are a courageous and authentic advocate for all young people in our community. You have a passion for helping people and are honest and uncomplicated. You never back down from a challenge and have the caring desire to do the right thing and have conversations that are difficult but critical. We still have a lot of work to do together, and I am grateful to have a professional and diligent mentor and friend. Thank you 🙂

Sharan Kaur. Four years ago, I had no idea who you were. You were just another name next to mine on the ballot. From our time on the board, I have learned to always count on your professionalism, strong work ethic, honesty, and transparency. You’ve always asked great insightful questions with a clear focus on student-centered outcomes. I am grateful to have had such a great partner on the board for the past four years and am looking forward to our continued friendship.

Carol Dutra Vernaci. In 2012, our first meeting at Andersen Bakery put me on the path to serving our kids and our community. Thanks for giving me the confidence and encouragement to take on this critical work. I am grateful for your guidance and friendship.

Jatinderpal Sahi. Thank you for caring. Stepping up to elected office is a significant and courageous step for anyone. You ran an excellent campaign– one you and your supporters can be very proud of. I am grateful to live in a community where people like you care enough to raise their hands, roll up their sleeves, and be part of the solution.

Gwen Estes. Thank you for the words of encouragement and the “ramblings.” I love the walks down memory lane to understand more deeply the rich history of our district. You have been a champion for all children in our community for decades. I am grateful for your honesty and courage.

CSEA. Thanks very much for your partnership and all of the vital work you do in our schools. Over the years, I have created such great relationships with so many of you– you know who you are. You all have deep roots in our community– important roots that need to be watered and protected. You have a partner in me. I am grateful for the work that you all do for our students.

SCOPE. Your group is incredible. I don’t think that I’ve ever partnered with a group that is as well organized, reliable, passionate, and committed as yours. Anyone who has ever run a political campaign knows how hard it is to manage volunteers, and you have the leadership and structure to get results. I’ve enjoyed our conversations and committed to keeping this relationship fruitful and productive– moving our community forward. I am grateful to be partnered with a group that cares deeply about political engagement– collectively and transparently advocating for the change they would like to see in the world.

Financial Donors. You know who you are. You all recognize that a big part of political engagement is understanding the electorate, creating relationships, and getting your message out. Direct mailers, social media ads, county data files are incredibly expensive. The cost of campaigns is likely to deter qualified people from rolling up their sleeves and putting their hats in the ring. I am grateful to have friends like you willing to put your money where your mouth and fund our community priorities. Our campaign is still in debt, so if you haven’t yet chipped in, I would certainly appreciate a donation to help us break even.

Endorsers. Thanks to all of the individuals who have recognized my contributions to the community and agreed to endorse me. Thanks to the organizations like the Tri-Cities Democrats and the Muslim Democrats and Friends Club, who ran the endorsement processes– I know that it’s laborious but essential work. I am grateful that we live in a democracy where We The People are empowered to shape our destiny.

Again, I could not mention everyone who made this campaign successful, but I am grateful to put it behind me so I can focus on the path ahead for our kids and our community. I am looking forward to four more productive years!