After more than 20 years of active public service in the community as a volunteer, earlier this year I ran for elected office for the first time. Although I had some expectations about the process, what actually happened was far different from what I had imagined.

It was gratifying that so many people participated. Approximately 30% of registered voters cast ballots in each round of elections in District 7. Unfortunately, that’s an exceptionally high turnout for city elections these days. Hundreds of people also volunteered their time, talent and treasures for me (and for all the candidates). Many others took time to weigh in on the issues via social media. As a result, in the last weeks of knocking on voters’ doors I found very few who expressed ignorance of the election.

I knew the campaign would be arduous and time-demanding. What I did not envision was how quickly it would deteriorate into harsh baseless attacks on my personal integrity and intentional distortions of my policy positions. After two decades of civic involvement I expected, perhaps naively, a certain level of civility – a hope that faded with each passing week of the campaign.

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