My name is Owen Skoler, and I will be running to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat on the Maplewood City Council.
I moved to Maplewood three years ago with my wife and then 2-year-old daughter. We were looking for a diverse, inclusive community with a progressive public school system and affordable housing. We found that in Ward 1.
Since moving to Maplewood, I’ve seen my daughter thrive at the Maplewood Early Childhood Center. I’ve watched her brave slides at Kellogg Park and then Trolley Park. She’s developed a love of books with weekly walks to the Maplewood Public Library and she’s brought smiles to our neighbors’ faces trick-or-treating.
The neighborhood in which I live has been an active participant in making some of the most special memories of my life. I’m grateful for this because I think increasingly there are fewer neighborhoods that can do the same.
I’m running for Maplewood City Council in April to make sure Maplewood is a place where all residents can make good memories wherever they are or are moving toward in life.
I became involved in Maplewood politics after learning about two lawsuits against the city that are alleging discrimination. I wanted to learn more, so I started attending city council meetings. I’ve personally spoken with all the city councilors, mayor and city manager about my concerns. I know how Maplewood city government works, how decisions are made and have educated myself on how residents can best make their voices heard.
Since then, I’ve seen residents call on councilors for reforms in the city’s nuisance ordinance, and I was active in an effort to use community development block grant funds to improve Metrolink access through Kellogg Park.
Being at meetings was familiar. After graduating college, I was a reporter and editor for five years, during which time I covered more government meetings than I can count, in municipalities that ranged from 2,000 residents to those nearing 200,000. Regardless of the meeting, my mission was always the same. I needed to make sense of information buried in ordinances, resolutions and notices of public hearings to clearly explain to readers how what was happening at city hall could potentially impact their lives and neighborhoods.
I’ve seen city councilors who have worked to transform underserved communities and I’ve seen councilors who ignore their most vulnerable residents. I’ve seen examples of healthy and open city councils and councils that kept decision-making behind closed doors because of special interests.
Eventually I took my experience as a journalist into marketing, and I currently manage the creative team at World Wide Technology.
I’m skilled at written and verbal communication, and I believe in the value of doing everything I can to learn about the needs of others and working on solutions to make sure those needs are met while making tangible progress on a defined goal.
I believe good ideas come from everywhere and people aren’t as different as they might think. As your city councilor, I promise to always listen to you, to solicit your ideas and to make sure you have all the context you need to form an opinion about decisions that will impact your quality of life. It would be an honor to play even the slightest of role in helping you make the lasting memories that we all seek.
See more at Owen Skoler for Maplewood Ward 1 on Facebook.
[Editor: Owen Skoler will be running for the council seat that will become vacant when now-council member Steven Moseley leaves to take a new position in Chillicothe MO. The election will be held in April 2018.]