When we moved to Ocean Shores three years ago, my wife and I knew absolutely no one here. We had never journeyed here for camping or recreation. We didn’t own a lot or a summer home. Instead, we bought a small cottage-style home and began to enjoy the ambience that is Ocean Shores. Though we are heartbroken over what has been happening to our country these past few years, we are two quite non-political people.
So imagine our surprise when, during the last City Council election, a candidate knocked on our door and genuinely wanted to listen to our thoughts about, well, about anything we wanted to share about Ocean Shores and our life here. The candidate was Susan Conniry and she was running for a spot on the Ocean Shores City Council.
I talked. She stood there and listened. I was honestly less interested in what she might have to say and more interested in her hearing and, more importantly, understanding my questions and concerns. She did say she was all about citizen involvement and felt the residents deserved to know what was going on and not with “filtered information.”
And I never asked about her experience because in my experience, you are who you are now. Not who you were months or years ago doing something else, somewhere else. After a pretty long monologue on my part, she thanked me and continued on.
In all this time, with one election over and one about to be, not one other candidate running for any office ever came to our door. No one sent even a postcard. No email messages.
It’s like, to the rest of them, we didn’t even exist.
Susan won that election. And unlike many people in office, she kept her promise by starting a weekly open forum where anyone could come and speak their mind about anything. She brought in other government officials from all levels and business leaders from the state and county as well. She listened. And in the process of listening, learned possibly more about the people of Ocean Shores than anyone.
I have known Susan for roughly three years now and I defy anyone to find any “empty promise” her opposition’s supporters claim to exist.
But I didn’t write this letter to speak negatively about our current mayor. If you’ve ever attended a City Council Meeting or two you know everything you need to know about her — you don’t need my “two cents.”
Susan Conniry doesn’t have a greedy bone in her body. Her motives are so simple, most people miss them entirely. She brings decades of experience helping people in all sorts of places and with all sorts of problems and issues. Yes, Susan is a “people person.” She actually cares about people at a time when that’s becoming a lost art.
Susan scares some people. She’s extremely intelligent. She has a grasp of reality rooted in worldwide experience. When she speaks, you know you’re hearing well-formed ideas. And all of that scares some people. I believe it scares them because they are afraid of being found out.
But I won’t tell you why I think the current mayor should not be the mayor — you’ll need to figure that out for yourself. The only thing I will say is this: Pay close attention. And think long and hard about what sort of future the folks who live in Ocean Shores deserve.