By Nikki Lee
This year brings to mind the phrase “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” There’s no way to sugarcoat it, 2020 has been tough, and we still have a lot of challenges to face. While we’re not yet at the end of the race, now feels like a good time to step back and reflect. As the first year of my term comes to a close, I’d like to share with you what my team and I have accomplished in this very unusual year:
As an incoming Councilmember, my #1 priority was to learn and build relationships. It’s so important not to re-invent the wheel every time a new elected leader comes in, which is why I set aside significant amounts of my time for training and meeting with the community and business leaders, as well as leaders in the departments that make up our City government. As part of my commitment to learning and continued growth, I now participate in the National League of Cities (NLC) and serve on three of their committees: the Military Communities Council, the Information Technology and Communications Committee, and the University Communities Council. As an active NLC member, I’m advocating for our City’s needs on a national scale and in coalition with other major cities across the country.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, my team worked hard to deliver 4,000 masks to schools in Ward 4 to keep students, teachers, and support staff safe. We also “challenged” Ward 2 to a Blood Drive contest to encourage donors to donate blood during a critical time for public health.
As part of my commitment to community engagement, we held four virtual town halls focused on core services, covering parks and recreation, transportation, Tucson Medical Center, and public safety. You can find the recordings on my YouTube channel here.
I’m proud to say my office has already developed a reputation for reliable constituent response. This year our community faced significant challenges, from COVID-19 to public safety accountability and reform. These are critical issues that require intentional, long-term solutions. My staff and I believe in being as transparent as possible, and I’m proud to say we did not shy away from responding to any constituent concerns and questions, no matter how complex the issue.
When I ran for City Council, I ran on the platform of a “stronger, smarter, more sustainable Tucson.” This year, the “smart” piece of this goal was critical. When COVID-19 hit, I was able to use my expertise as an IT professional to inform the transition to our new remote work environment. Although our lives may be moving slower, the needs of our City are not, which is why it was vital we continue working efficiently during this transition. My tech background also helped strengthen the plans for Tucson’s City-wide WiFi program, a vital tool for our virtual school and work lives.
None of these accomplishments would’ve been possible without input from the public. I encourage you to continue to bring to our attention any concerns or ideas you have that would help improve our community. We are here to help, and it’s much easier to do so when we hear from you.
Thank you for your input, engagement, and commitment to keeping each other safe over the past year. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at any time. Enjoy your holidays, and we look forward to hearing from you in the new year!