When I first began asking questions of our current mayor I received answers. Back in those days I had several rich discussions with the mayor on social media and my emails usually generated a response within a reasonable amount of time. As my questions became more difficult and my investigations turned up controversial information, my efforts to maintain a healthy chain of communication were met with silence. 

At some point the mayor decided that I am not worth his time. 

 

Writer and novelist Devin Gackle describes the “silent treatment” as “a method of psychological punishment and manipulation” that can cause significant damage to relationships, and, in extreme cases, generate feelings of depression or anxiety (LifeHack 2018).

We’ve all been there. Whether you’ve sweated it out waiting for an overdue email response from your boss, never heard back from a business that owed you a price quote for a project, or felt the cold shoulder from your recently grounded teenager, everyone knows the feeling of being ignored. 

Sometimes the absence of a response is nothing more than a consequence of living in a busy world. Career coach Dr. Marty Nemko, PhD, reminds us that “in our careening lives, courtesy can be a casualty” (PsychToday 2014). It seems almost weekly I send a text that disappears into the abyss of the recipient’s demanding schedule.  

thOften the silent treatment is more insidious than a simple lapse in memory though. Mental healthcare expert Dr. Hemant Mittal informs us that ignoring someone is a technique often used by those who wish to “express discontent” when a person is not “fulfilling your expectations” (Linked In 2014). 

I am not the only person who is ignored by the mayor when I ask legitimate, probing questions about the administration of our city. Could it be that our questioning alone falls outside of the mayor’s expectations for proper behavior? Is the silent treatment we receive a form of punishment? 

Transparency and open communication are the capstones of my campaign platform.

You have my promise that I will never ignore you. I might not have an answer for all of your questions right away, but you will always have the respect of a response from me. To do otherwise reflects a lack of care for our community. Ignoring people communicates to them that they do not matter at all. Remaining engaged and answering even the most difficult questions demonstrates a desire to put Charlestown First. 

I am thrilled to announce that we have established a campaign office in the heart of the Downtown Historic District on the town square. Please mark your calendars for the Grand Opening Event set for Friday, November 23 at 5:00pm at 904 Main Street. Come out and enjoy a warm drink and snacks just in time for Light Up Charlestown. We will also have a letter writing station so kids can get their wish list to Santa. I can’t wait to see you there!

The core pledges of my campaign include efforts to foster community cohesion and protect Charlestown families and citizens. One way to bring these goals into alignment with each other is to bolster community health initiatives in the public sector. 

It’s no secret that Charlestown has been affected by the opioid abuse crisis currently plaguing our state. Recently a study conducted by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation (RMFF) revealed that opioid related deaths in Indiana have increased 75% in the last six years. Last year more than 1,700 Hoosiers lost their lives to opioid abuse

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Closer to home, Clark County has experienced a slight decline in overdose deaths from 2016-2017, but rates of newly diagnosed HIV and chronic Hepatitis C are increasing with the prevalence of injectable drug use. 

The RMFF has called upon all Hoosiers to address the opioid crisis. From legislators to educators, from the governor’s office to City Hall, we all should be concerned about how this crisis impacts our communities. 

Efforts to increase treatment opportunities for those addicted to opioids and other dangerous drugs are in the works at the state level. Most professionals agree that medical assisted treatment offers the most promising avenue for addicts to move into recovery. Charlestown itself is home to the largest opioid treatment center in the state. A report by the News and Tribune from October 13th of this year explained that the Southern Indiana Comprehensive Treatment Center treats approximately 900 people every day. 

Treatment for addicts, however, is only half of the equation for addressing the opioid crisis.


I believe it is vital for Charlestown to address the impact of opioid abuse on our families.


For this reason, I intend to encourage and support public support groups for families in crisis due to addiction and the rising opioid abuse epidemic. 

The costs associated with ignoring the opioid epidemic are just too high. In addition to lost lives, unaddressed addiction impacts the local economy and overall community health. A mayor who takes action on this issue can help reduce crime, bolster the workforce economy, and improve academic achievement within the community. 

Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that creating opportunities for public conversations about drug abuse can be an effective way to bring members of the community together, encourage those affected to seek treatment, and create a more engaged citizenry.

Our community health is extremely important. This initiative is one way that I plan to help us Keep Charlestown First while moving us Forward.


Sources used for this article:

IMG_7043You are invited to join Treva at the “Governor’s Mansion” located in the Historic Charlestown Mall on Water Street in Charlestown to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Amid the stunning elegance of this beautifully maintained historic home you’ll have a chance to chat with Treva about her mission to put Charlestown First.

It wouldn’t be a party without a little fun! Be sure to dig through your closet and find your ugliest holiday sweater (or create a one-of-a-kind version) and enter the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. All guests will have their fill of cookies and hot cocoa. Also, rumor has it that we can expect a visit from Jolly Old Saint Nicholas himself, so bring your wish list for Charlestown to share.

The event kicks off at 2:00 PM on Sunday, December 16th. The Ugly Christmas Sweater contest will be at 3:00 and Santa will be available throughout the afternoon. Visit the Facebook Event site to let us know you’re coming and please share: Hometown Holiday with Treva Invitation

Commonly known as the Charlestown Hotel, the Governor’s Mansion dates back to the early 1900s. To learn more about its history please visit http://www.historiccharlestownmall.com/the_story

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 9.03.01 PMAccording to the experts at Merriam-Webster, to be transparent is to be “readily understood.” A transparent administration will be one “characterized by visibility or accessibility of information.” When I say that my leadership style is rooted in transparency, these are the criteria I have in mind. 

Charlestown currently suffers from a lack of transparency. 

Processes intended for public witnessing are often accomplished through private decision making not accessible to residents. On Monday, November 5th the Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting (a summary and full audio of this meeting are available here: BPW 11/05/2018). A representative from Assured Partners was listed on the agenda to discuss the City’s workers compensation insurance plan renewal, but he was unable to make his presentation after being informed that the board does not involve itself in such decision making.

Mayor Hall explained that a committee of staff members is tasked with researching, reviewing, and deciding which vendors’ offers are best. According to Bob Hall, “we’re the board but we’re not the ones that sit down and look at the insurance and compare all the things with it.” Following the Mayor’s refusal to hear the agent’s renewal presentation, he welcomed another agent from a competing firm, who was not listed on the agenda, and the board listened to their presentation and ultimately approved their offer to take over the city’s workers compensation insurance.

I was present at this meeting, yet I cannot tell you which company actually offered the better deal since only one firm was allowed to present their offer. 

In their determination to make over the image of our town, the current administration ignores our pleadings to be included in the process or to have access to information. 

image2-6Last night I attended the Clark County Comprehensive Plan open house in Henryville. Although this plan does not involve incorporated areas of the county like Charlestown, I think it is important to stay informed about our sister communities. (A second session will be November 15th in New Washington and you can follow their Facebook page here: Clark County Comprehensive Plan) This interactive event is the first of three phases in which a planning commission is seeking feedback from Clark County residents about how they envision growth and development in the county in the next 20 years. Attendees were presented demographic information about our county and were invited to share their ideas about what should be preserved, celebrated, and built in the coming years. In the next two phases the commission will present a draft vision statement, objectives, goals, and action steps and check back in with residents one additional time before presenting their final recommendations. Their determination to involve citizens in this process was refreshing! 

image3-3I learned that the company that is developing this plan for the county also did Charlestown’s Comprehensive Plan (available here: Charlestown’s Comprehensive Plan). I could not remember, however, being notified of a similar process in the development of our plan, so I asked a member if this three-step process represents their standard operating procedure. She said yes. When I asked why Charlestown only had one meeting, she told me that the City was in a hurry to move along and the company had to operate on a shortened timeline. 

These two examples represent much of what is wrong with our city. We lack transparency. We lack an administration that demonstrates a desire to operate in partnership with citizens.

When changing the date of a holiday celebration for the entire town is more easily accomplished than informing citizens that public meetings have been called or cancelled or involving them in developing the vision of our community, it’s time for a change.

Transparency ensures that citizens have opportunities to be involved with the government of their city. It demonstrates a commitment to representation and removes feelings of deception.

Transparency is important and it’s in my plan. 

 

The energy I’ve felt since I made my campaign announcement last week has been a joy. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer support and encouragement. We have a long year ahead of us in the Mayoral campaign and there will be numerous opportunities to join me on the campaign trail. 

We are not quite there yet, though! We have a very important election this year and I want to take the opportunity to encourage everyone to get out and vote in the 2018 mid-term election. 

 

Clark County early voting is occurring NOW, so if you can’t make it out for Election Day on November 6th, I urge you to take advantage of early voting opportunities. 2018 Election Dates

Remaining times and days at the Courthouse are:

  • Monday – Friday October 15-November 2 from 9am-4pm 
  • Saturday October 27 and November 3 from 9am-4pm
  • Monday November 5 from 9am-noon

 

In addition to these opportunities at the Courthouse, on Monday, October 29 until Friday, November 2 from 11am-7pm you can cast a ballot at the Clark County 4-H fairgrounds in Charlestown.  

Join the Clark County Democrats on Monday, October 29 to meet your Democratic Candidates and kick off early voting at the Charlestown location. The candidates will be at Charlestown Pizza Company from 5pm-7pm and want to meet you! You’ll get great pizza and hear from Terry Goodin, Vicki Carmichael, Susan Popp, Carol Moon, Joe Renck Jr., Eric Lawhorn, Angela Cornett, Elysia Fisher, and many more. Check out the event page here: Meet your Democratic Candidates.