Well, folks. I’m back. After an accidental hiatus, I’m finally settling back into a routine that allows me to read more regularly, which means I can review again! It’s been a crazy year filled with ups and downs (mostly ups), but rather than just pop back onto my corner of the internet without explaining my absence, I wanted to give you a glimpse into where I went off to.
After the 2016 presidential election, I, like many of you, felt a little lost. I was angry, sad, but more importantly, motivated. In February of 2017, I filed to run for city council in my home city of Aurora, CO. We are the 54th largest city in America with roughly 372,000 people and are the most diverse city in the state. I wasn’t happy with the direction we, as a country and a city, were headed and decided to throw my hat in the ring. An Emerge grad with a Master’s of Public Policy, I knew both what it took to run a campaign and that I was qualified, but what I didn’t know was how much it would change my life in the best and most unexpected ways.
My race, which was at-large (meaning I ran to represent the entire city, rather than a section of it), was tough. The council at the time was nearly 100% registered Republican (though the council is non-partisan, this is important because it does not represent our purple city) and I was the only progressive running in my race. I was also the only woman. Though we had more than 15 people competing for two seats at one point, the final ballot had me up against 7 men. Thanks to an army of volunteers and two other progressive women running by my side who dedicated their resources to helping me have a greater reach, we did it. We won. We won with historic margins.
In fact, all three of us progressive Emerge grads won. And if this wasn’t a big enough honor, the three of us went on to win the State Democratic Party’s Rising Star award for “flipping” three seats. And we did it despite $100k of oil and gas money pouring into our opponents, despite being told we didn’t have the name recognition/were too progressive/etc. And we did it because of people-power. We did it because hundreds of people donated and knocked doors and called for us. Many of you donated, as well, and for that I am forever grateful.
But it was not without its hiccups. I was still working full-time, lost my grandmother, and had wrist surgery in the middle of it all. Not taking any oil and gas or developer money made fundraising a bit harder, but still doable. But hey, life goes on and sometimes things that have the power to knock you off your feet are the very same things that pull you back up and push you harder. Such was the case for me. Life wasn’t going to interfere with doing the people’s work.
Today, I’m happily sworn in and working hard. I’m still working full-time and have a lot of great ideas for the future. If you’re so inclined, you can follow along on Twitter at @allisonhiltz.
All that said, I’m thrilled to be back. Reading is what centers me and I always feel a little untethered when I stray too far from my daily reading. I love this book community and life isn’t the same without you, so I hope you’ll forgive my absence and take me back.