Mayor Nick Isgro believes I owe the people of Waterville an apology, and I couldn’t agree more.

Backing up a little, after a series of health scares for one of my sons, including three neurosurgeries, I homeschool him. This year, my other son has attended Waterville Junior High, and he has had a fabulous year with people who are so dedicated. But it’s clear they operate on a shoestring budget. I’ve continued to homeschool my youngest, and I decided to look at municipal government and civic engagement — I’m so desperately sorry I didn’t do this sooner.

When I started attending City Council meetings, I made a plea for the Saint Martin family after Lexius Saint Martin was detained by immigration officials. I’m sorry the mayor refused my request to have a discussion. I’m sorry he never followed through on his promise to reply to my email with a thoughtful response. I’m sorry Mindy Saint Martin gave birth to their third child without her husband. I’m sorry our mayor thought a message of support wasn’t worth his time.

When Isgro’s social media conduct went over the line, I asked the mayor to apologize and resign. I had many people reach out to me to ask if I’d consider filing an affidavit to recall the mayor. My response was, “I know Nick. He’ll apologize.” I’m sorry I was wrong. I’m sorry that he still doesn’t understand that his actions and words led to the recall election and that he, alone, could have prevented it.

I personally collected over 10 percent of the required signatures on the petition. I spent $110 of my own money. I walked until I had blistered feet. I’m sorry I didn’t walk until they bled. I’m sorry I didn’t do more.

I’m sorry that a school board member felt emboldened to post pictures of me with hateful words. I’m sorry that he declined my offer to buy him coffee and have a conversation and work towards reconciliation.

I’m sorry that facts have become debatable. The recall had nothing to do with taxes. I’m sorry the mayor made something up, instead of addressing my concerns. I have nothing to do with the budget. I’m sorry he called people and scared them. I’m sorry they might lose homeowner’s insurance, or rates might increase if the city has to go to a volunteer fire department.

I’m sorry people don’t really know who I am. This has never been about guns. I believe in the Second Amendment, and I am a gun owner. I think football players should stand for the National Anthem. My father fought in Vietnam to protect my right to petition. I’m sorry people don’t realize that the council could remove the mayor without a recall if there were criminal offenses.

I’m sorry the mayor failed to express any concern that the women involved with filing the affidavit were harassed and defamed, but the man who helped file the affidavit was not.

I’m sorry people think holding someone accountable for unkind words and actions is tantamount to calling for an end to free speech.

I never called for the mayor to lose his banking job. I am sorry so much misinformation about this has been spread. I know that the mayor could put an end to it if he wanted to clear up the facts. I’m sorry he won’t do this.

The mayor says it’s time for us to move forward together, but then continues to foster an environment that allows for hateful responses from his supporters on his official Facebook page. I’m sorry the mayor thinks it’s OK to use social media as a bully pulpit. I’m sorry he thinks that social media is the only form of communication. I’m sorry he thinks emails expressing concerns should be deleted, and questions from the press ignored.

I’m sorry he isn’t strong enough to answer tough questions face to face.

I’m disappointed by the outcome of the recall election, but I am not sorry for it. True democracy never offers a promise that we will get our way. I accept the results. I’m sorry the mayor thinks that active participation in democracy comes with a price tag.

Finally, I’m sorry there are people who think doing the right thing means first considering whether it is politically wise. I’m sorry my 14-year-old has expectations that his fellow classmates not be unkind to others, but we as adults are somehow expected to remain silent unless we can gain a political “win,” or we’ll be attacked for it.

I’m sorry the mayor thinks the 91 votes he survived the recall by is a big number. I know 1,472 — the number of votes against him — is bigger.

One thing we do agree on is that the person at the root of the recall should apologize. I know I’m not that person. I’m deeply sorry the mayor doesn’t understand this.

Hilary Koch lives in Waterville.

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