“I first met Karen in 2015 when I served as a liaison to the developer of our neighborhood because we did not have an HOA. Karen was working with the community to oppose significant changes to the overall density of our subdivision. Then, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew flooded our neighborhood in Ashville Park. Several homes had over a foot of water in their living rooms. Our family was fortunate to only have water in the garage. Karen reached out to the community to discuss some actions we may want to consider as a community to address the flooding, as this was our third flood in less than three years. She invited me and two others to meet with her at Panera.
When Karen met with us, she came prepared. She had printed off a detailed history of the development of Ashville Park. She also laid out some possible plans of action we could share with our neighbors. The plan we chose ultimately meant taking our combined voices to City Council. When Karen shared this information, she did it without bias or opinion. She simply gave us the facts, and only then did she give us suggestions of things we could consider. She made it very clear that she was not trying to tell us what to do. She was asking for our input. Karen wanted to help us with a shared issue, and she wanted collaboration and consensus. It was important to her that we knew it was not her battle; it was our battle and no matter the result, she was with us the entire way and would be there good or bad.
We three neighbors took Karen’s packet of information and the plan we developed to our neighbors, and from this seed, our community developed a plan of action to address our flooding issues. A few months later, the Ashville Park community made its first appearance before City Council. I was one of the three speakers that evening. I found strength to do this because Karen had armed me with facts and a sense of urgent community need.
In 2018, this grassroots community effort, coupled with a city and developer collaboration, led to the funding and eventual address of our flooding issues. When our community went to council, well over half of the audience was from my neighborhood. I was very proud of our community. I know that none of that would have happened without Karen.
In today’s political environment, people want to tell you all about how great they are. They want to pound their chests and say, “This would not have happened without me.” They want to tell you that their opponent is wrong. In my humble opinion, however, Karen wants to be involved. Karen will investigate and learn about things she may not fully understand (which I imagine is a very small scope), and before she speaks, she will be sure of her facts. But that is only the tip of the iceberg because Karen wants to work with others to move said iceberg. Karen wants to understand the opposition and work with them and not against them. Politics these days are one side pushing the other, but with Karen, it is push only when there is not an option. I have firsthand experience that she wants us to work together.
Karen does not want the glory for anything because the results will speak for themselves.
I was a police officer in Virginia Beach for many years, and for two decades I have been an analyst for grocery retailers. However, I have met few people with greater leadership skills than Karen. I would support her and her family with anything at any time. I hope everyone that reads this will consider voting for the smart, team player that will put her interests aside and fight when there is no other option. That is Karen. Our city and political landscape needs someone that understands the city, is smart enough to know what she does not know, will get the right people to help her learn, and will fight for all of us with all her might and without taking credit. Karen is this person and the right person for City Council this year.