Peter Spear, founder of FUTURE HUDSON, an experiment in civic engagement & advocacy, is one of my role models for civic engagement. I met him in my capacity as Program Director of the Hudson Area Library. He was a new dad concerned about pedestrian safety as he took his daughter around the city. And, he was willing to spend an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and thought to create a safer and better world for his beautiful child. In my opinion, he has done and is doing just that.
I am honored to learn that I helped him realize he was headed in the right direction when his civic journey in Hudson began. Here is his letter of support that appeared recently in the Register Star for my candidacy:
“To the editor:
“I have never endorsed anyone for political office before. Mostly, I think politics obscures the real issues.
“The big challenges we face are cultural, not political. They are about how we greet each other, and how we speak with each other, and listen to each other.
“In this spirit, for Brenda Shufelt I will make an exception. Because I first met Brenda when I needed help. I was a new father and — as you do — I felt my sense of responsibility expand almost immediately.
“It started with pedestrian safety and concerns about an intersection. As I got involved, it grew into a concern for how we speak with each other about our shared future. So, I had a crazy idea I thought would help us have a new kind of conversation with each other. If you ever feel this way, I hope that you are met by Brenda Shufelt. She was the first person I spoke with. We had never met, and I’m sure I appeared a little unhinged.
“She listened to me with no judgment, and almost immediately became a collaborator, ensuring FUTURE HUDSON whatever success it had. But, more importantly, it was the way she listened to me that gave me the feeling that something good was possible. I wish this for you, Claverack. YOU have the chance in November to be so lucky. Vote for Brenda Shufelt for Claverack Town Board.”