Fritz Hahn is my dad. He's running for re-election to the city council. I'm writing to ask you to vote for him.
When he was first elected, Dad had four goals:
Return to fiscal responsibility.Restore collaboration with county government.Repair the ailing roads and buildings.Revitalize the acequias.So how has he done?
Well, the roads are getting paved. The crumbling roof and walls of the Youth and Family Center have been repaired.
For the past three years he has attended every Taos Soil and Water Conservation District meeting, forging a collaborative effort between the District and the town. For the first time in my life the town is an active parciante, revitalizing the ditches that feed our parks. If there's a mile of ditch he hasn't walked, it's not for lack of effort.
He has played an instrumental role in the $1.5 million joint community development block grants the county and town have collaborated on for the last two years.
The town budget has returned from a $800,000 deficit in 2014 to reserves of $2.7 million in 2018.
Is he solely responsible for these achievements? Of course not. It takes a lot of good people working together to bring about improvements like these. My father is one among them. He acts as a facilitator, bringing disparate groups together and finding common ground.
For example, he might be the first city councilor in history to actively encourage town employees to unionize. Now, for the first time in our town's history, municipal employees have a collective bargaining agreement.
As it happens, union work is one of my dad's legacies. He, along with Billy Vigil, Kathy Jones, Linda Hodapp, Margie Lucero and others, started the technicians' union at Holy Cross Hospital back in the mid-80s.
At the time the hospital administration threatened to layoff half of the bargaining unit. Although my dad's job was "safe," his discussion with the hospital's nursing administration came to no avail, and he quit his job in protest. As a result of his departure, the administration rescinded its plan to lay off support staff. Twelve jobs were saved.
Today employees at two of the town's largest institutions can negotiate their wages and working conditions in part because of Fritz Hahn.
As a member of the local teachers union, I admire that.
Chances are you've disagreed with my dad on something over the last four years. That's fine. Contrary to what the madhouse in Washington would seem to indicate, politics is really about finding civil compromises to civil disagreements.
My dad never dismisses an opposing view out of hand, never ridicules or demeans his opposition. He listens. He's transparent. To my dad, ethics and integrity aren't just about following the rules. They are a matter of personal pride and honor. And he does his homework.
Ask yourself: do you want a politician who tells you what you want to hear, makes dubious promises and then does as he or she wants? Or do you want a civil servant who researches the issues, makes his view clear, listens to your view and acts ethically in the collective best interest?
Do you want someone in office whose goal is to work as hard as you do?
That's Fritz Hahn.
To him, the prosperity of our town isn't a game or a step on the way to a higher office; it's a vocation.
I'm proud to give him my vote, and I hope you'll give him yours.
Francis Hahn is a Taos citizen.