To the editor:

What makes a person qualified to run for city commissioner? I believe representing the public is one of the primary requirements to be a commissioner. I have been serving and representing people in this community for many years. It’s obvious some people are simply afraid of change. Those people who are afraid will do anything and everything to stop change from coming.

Last week, I read a Leavenworth Times letter to the editor stating that I canceled my attendance at a public candidate forum the same day as the event. That statement was a complete lie.

My first communication with Mr. Ernest Evans, the organizer of the candidate forum, was early on Oct. 6 when I saw Mr. Evans in person at a local restaurant. It was then he confirmed to me that the candidate forum would be on Oct. 16. I immediately told Mr. Evans I would not be able to attend because of a prior commitment. The claim by the author of the letter to the editor that I notified Mr. Evans of my cancelation on the very day of the candidate forum was a totally fabricated story.

I sent Mr. Evans a Facebook message on Oct. 14 about my goals and reasons for seeking election as a Leavenworth City Commissioner. Besides the personal notification I gave Mr. Evans on Oct. 6 and the Facebook notification on Oct. 14, I sent a third notification to Mr. Evans on the actual day of his forum. It was an email about my goals for serving on the Leavenworth City Commission. I sent the third communication so that Mr. Evans could print copies and give that information to the forum attendees. That third communication to Mr. Evans was not a cancelation at all since he knew early on Oct. 6 that I would not be able to attend the event.

I’ve never been afraid to talk about my past because it is my past, undeniably. However, the person I was in my youth is no longer who I am today, nor have been for many years. To make a claim that I avoided a public forum because I didn’t want people to question my past is complete nonsense.

On Sept. 14, 2017, I wrote a letter to the editor to the Times inviting the community to come to the public forum that was to be held on Sept. 21 and sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce. I stated in that letter to the editor that I would be sharing my testimony at that candidate forum. On Sept. 21, as promised, I shared my testimony about why I was incarcerated. That testimony was filmed at Leavenworth City Hall for public viewing on the local government television channel. On Oct. 7, I held a personal meet-and-greet at the Leavenworth Public Library where I gave people from the community an opportunity to ask questions about my past as well as my plans for running for city commissioner.

One curious thing I noticed about each public forum in which I took part was that the person who keeps writing letters to the editor about my qualifications and history did not attend either one. This leads me to ask a question – if my past was so much of an issue, why did this critic neither attend the two public forums nor contact me after watching the televised forum to ask his questions? It appears he was waiting for an opportunity to attack my character only when I was not present to refute his allegations against me.  

My critic insists that people are not incarcerated for simple possession of drugs. Really? Although he seems to claim legal expertise, all I can say is that is exactly what happened to me. But now, my record has been expunged and God has given me another chance. I’m moving forward in my life and I will continue to serve my community.

I realize that no matter what I say or how I say it, that critic will always find a way to fabricate and distort my story. I believe he fears change, but change is coming because the people in this community want it.

Thank you to all those who’ve supported me and voted. Change is coming soon, and together we will make a difference in our community. God bless.