Our five-month roller coaster ride of a campaign is over! It feels like coming home from a 90-day submarine patrol, when just going to Point No Point and propping myself up against a log ranked high in my priorities.
So when the Kingston Community News asked me to write about what Kingston residents could expect me to do after the election, here’s what came to mind:
1. Take a family trip to purge our systems of “campaign-itis” (I’m doing that as I write).
2. Throw a party!
3. Give my wife truffles and flowers monthly until all symptoms of campaign stress are gone. (This really should be No. 1).
4. Take our dogs for a lot of overdue long walks.
5. Make time to mess around with boats and to be at the beach.
But what will I do during my first year in office? My level best to be a darned good port commissioner. Here’s what I mean:
1. Be a team player. Pete and Marc have forgotten more than I know about the Port and I respect that. If there’s more than one side of a question, however, there’ll be disagreement. The key is to disagree without being disagreeable and be willing to learn.
2. Collaborate with the Port staff. They get the job done and, since no two commissioners can talk Port business outside of a public meeting, the staff’s our indispensable link. Learn from the staff and respect that. Listen, don’t talk. Let people do their jobs and focus on doing my own job as commissioner instead.
3. Represent our community. Drop personal agendas and just get done what the community wants. Community priorities will come from the Port’s Master Plan, and the public process to develop that plan is under way now.
After talking to more than 1,000 Kingstonians about the Port, I’ve learned that no commissioner can be smarter than the collective intelligence of even the first few people on any page of Kingston’s phone book. The challenge is to tap into that intelligence when only a few can make it to meetings.
The last five months were more than just an opportunity to annoy people with puns on campaign signs. The campaign, combined with heart surgery, was both an inspiring and difficult time. The key is to move on with the inspiration and leave the baggage behind.
“Johari Window” is an organizational development concept that also applies to our personal growth. This “window” has four panes of self-knowledge: areas known to us and known to others; areas known to us and not to others; areas known to others and not to ourselves (blind spots); and areas of ourselves known neither to ourselves or to others — secrets or mysteries. The more self-knowledge, the more we grow. I’ve grown a lot through this experience.
Over the past five months we’ve rediscovered the Kingston that we moved here for. Thanks for honoring me with your trust.
— Walt Elliott takes office as Kingston port commissioner on Jan. 1. Contact him at email@example.com.