A letter from Mayor Leavitt to the students of WSU Vancouver

To the students of WSU Vancouver:

Thank you for asking me to submit a letter on the power of involvement.

You may not know that I grew up in Vancouver and graduated from WSU. I’ve been a Vancouver city council member since 2003 and Mayor of Vancouver since 2010.

I chose to get involved in local government because I wanted to preserve the opportunities I had when I was growing up — good schools, a supportive community and the chance to continue my education.
But, you don’t have to be the mayor to make a difference. You can see the results of an involved community all across the City of Vancouver. Consider Esther Short Park with its Bell Tower and brick square. Not possible without the involvement of the late George Propstra.

But, you don’t have to have money to make a difference. Note the 813 new street trees planted by 2,179 volunteers in 35 Vancouver neighborhoods. This is visual evidence of citizens giving back and improving their community.

Not into tree planting? We are always looking for innovative ideas to deal with the challenges we face. We welcome yours. As a government we have boards, commissions and neighborhood associations all looking for smart people who care about the community.

Get involved in something. You have a good chance of making new friends, having fun, networking with employers, developing leadership skills, feeling part of the community, or changing things for the better.

A simple, powerful way to get involved and make your voice — an informed voice — heard is to vote. When you vote you are telling lawmakers how you feel about education, public safety, social security and other issues. Mail-in ballots make it easy. If you opt out of voting, you have missed the chance to voice your opinion. If you don’t vote, one day you might wake up in a country where you can’t.

I can tell you that the relationships I have built through my community involvement have enriched my life and given me a real sense of our city. Vancouver is a great place to live. It can be even better if you get involved.

Mayor Timothy D. Leavitt

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