By Clifford Cunningham
I’ve had the distinct honor and privilege of serving as City Councilor for District 7 over the last four years and, as my time doing so will come to an end in a few weeks, I wanted to take the time to share some final thoughts with the residents of the District I call home and the city as a whole.
I begin by thank my family for their support over the last four years. Stress that comes with the responsibility of being a City Councilor, as well as substantial time spent away at meetings and community events can, at times, place strain on a family. I thank them for putting up with those realities and supporting me and my commitment to serve the people of Chelsea, even though that commitment sometimes came at their expense. No thoughts about my family can exclude mention of my father. It saddens me that he did not live long enough to share the experience with me, but I do know he witnessed it and will undoubtedly give me his insight when we meet again.
I also want to share some thoughts with my colleagues on the City Council, both those who will continue to serve and those who will not. In a relatively unusual case, all 11 current Councilors served together for two terms. There were a number of contentious debates through the course of those four years, and sadly, a personal divide emerged as a result, one of my deepest regrets as a City Councilor. I am grateful that those personal differences were resolved and that we were able to continue doing the people’s business at times when it was most important. Despite what some naysayers have said, I leave proud of what our Council accomplished and can say with certainty our City is a stronger one than it was four years ago. As many of us step aside, it will now be up to those who assume office in January to continue moving Chelsea forward and in what I hope to be the right direction.
To the people of District 7, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for placing your faith in me to represent you at City Hall. While most 21 year-olds are busy in college or having fun with friends, I chose to sit through late night budget hearings, question department heads at subcommittee meetings, and navigate city government to get potholes and sidewalks fixed. Despite the challenges, I can say with 100 percent certainty that, if given the choice, I would gladly do it all over again.
The opportunity to serve as an elected representative of fellow residents of the city I’ve called home my entire life was nothing short of an honor, and the people I’ve met and worked with will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life.
In closing, the final message I’d like to convey to the people of Chelsea is to never listen to those who tell you that we are more different than alike. No matter the country you come from, the color of your skin, the religion you practice, or the language you speak, we are all part of one collective family; humanity. E pluribus unum, a Latin phrase that has been displayed proudly on our nation’s seal since 1782, makes clear, “out of many, one.”
Out of many races, ethnicities, religions, etc., we are one nation and one people.
And so on January 4, 2016, I again become a private citizen. I am happy to do so, and do so with the pride of one who was honored to have served my district, Chelsea and its residents.
Thank you and God bless you all.