While I’ve been a pretty regular letter-to-the-editor contributor for the past 25 years or so whenever the spirit moved me, it will be a new challenge to have to write something once a month. I’m looking forward to it, but I can’t say for sure there will be any rhyme or reason to what I come up with. Some will say that’s hardly news.

My goal will be to try to make whatever it is readable and relevant to life in Waterville, a city I have called home since I bought my house 34 years ago. I guess you all will be the judges of whether I’m successful.

Since I was just a part of the inauguration of our new mayor, I thought I would answer a question that I’m pretty sure people on both sides of the political spectrum have been wondering. That is, how did a progressive feminist like me come to endorse a conservative Republican like Nick Isgro?

That’s pretty much the same kind of question people asked Charlie Gaunce when he endorsed me three years ago. The primary reasons are because all three of us care deeply about Waterville, and we have respect for each other.

That’s the beauty of politics on the local level. It’s about relationships and about working together regardless of ideology, because you choose to work on a common goal with people you trust and respect.

It’s not about name calling and negative campaigning because locally it’s hard to get away with acting that way and not ruining your own credibility.

While I initially wasn’t inclined to endorse anyone, I changed my mind after several discussions with Isgro about his goals for the city.

While I don’t endorse his vision for the nation or the world, those are not things over which the mayor of Waterville has impact.

I do endorse Isgro’s local vision because of his interest in, his understanding of, and his dedication to, making Waterville a place he and his wife, Amanda, want to raise their children.

He knows that it’s important that we continue our quest to ensure we have a city with vibrancy and a positive attitude, with an environment that balances the needs of small businesses, families and the community, and he understands that the nonprofit institutions here are partners in our efforts to create the city we desire.

When I took office, I had a list of projects on which we needed to work. They included:

• Revitalizing the airport.

• Lowering our energy costs.

• Rethinking, reducing, recycling and reusing our resources.

• Filling up or taking down our empty buildings.

• Fixing the roads.

• Marketing the city and what it has to offer.

• Expanding the tax base.

All of those projects have been started, and I trust that Isgro will keep us focused on continuing to work on them.

He will be a good ambassador for the city because he is positive in his outlook and understands why that’s an important characteristic to have and message to convey.

He will be a good advocate for the city’s needs. He understands the critical importance revenue sharing plays in our city’s growth and he is willing to take that message to the governor and the Legislature.

He will help create effective solutions to city issues because he is smart, thoughtful, willing to listen and learn, and because he knows that working together is much more effective than grandstanding.

So what’s our role in helping him succeed? We can help market the city by acting as ambassadors for Waterville, shop locally, offer constructive suggestions to the problems facing us all and be willing to get involved in solving them.

As far as economic development is concerned, we can stop thinking that some great new business is going to come here to create jobs. We can start paying attention to what we have here now and support and enhance the businesses that also have chosen Waterville as their home. And we can focus and effectively coordinate organizations’ efforts to do that.

I want to thank the voters for giving me the opportunity to serve and to say how much I appreciate of those of you who have stepped up to help make Waterville a city we are all proud to call home. I am confident that we can create the city of our dreams if we all continue that work together and I look forward to participating in the effort to do just that.

Karen Heck is a longtime resident and former mayor of Waterville.

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