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Why I will serve only one term as mayor

Letter to the Editor

 


I graduated from Coulee Dam High School in 1962 and then off to work as a draftsman and engineer technician. I needed more, so in 1968 I enrolled in Washington State University … subsequently graduating in civil engineering & geology (BS cum laude). Still not enough, so back again to WSU… majoring in fine arts/architecture and regional planning (BA cum laude). After over 40 years of engineering, planning, city management, and architecture, I “retired.” Full circle – back home. Coulee Dam.

I bought a small home, raised my son (he graduated in Coulee Dam, 2016) and occasionally consulted. I was fretting and itching for fun-work, so I thought that with all of my education and experience, I could help the town … with grant applications, improvements with/for water and wastewater issues, the swimming pool, trails planning … anything I could do. As it was, the response was lukewarm, at best. The more questions I asked, the more “they” became defensive and divisive. In an effort to learn and understand more about “my” town, I “actually” wanted data and documents (public records), and at that point, “they” began stonewalling … I was overtaken by my own tenacity! 

When I made the choice to run and serve Coulee Dam, I did that with a lot of hope and promise… and I still do.

Obviously, I was elected for my first term in January 2014. And from that point, we have grown into a service-based professional staff/volunteers that know and use their minds and hearts. We don’t worry about concealing public records or avoid our responsibility … our philosophical paradigm is just naturally honest, fair, and open.

I think that the bulk of our electorate understands the time it takes to build and rebuild infrastructure. And even with that, in 2014-16 we funded and designed our new wastewater treatment facility, in 2015-16 we put together the largest Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) project ever awarded for the Coulee Dam, and had other successes as well. In short, we have funded more projects/programs of any elected term since incorporation in 1959. Celebrate the success of our citizens, our town staff, our volunteers, our commissions/committees/boards, and town council and mayor.

And with that, and regardless of my nemeses, I will serve only through my current term! Beyond that, I have things to do, places to go, and so much more to learn and re-learn. As a point of explanation, my life was changed by a natural fate … from a stroke of “wonder.” I was left hobbled by some cognitive and Aphasia challenges. Two years ago, I had few words, my pen was impotent, my abacus lost its beads, and my memory took pause for a respite. To me, I couldn’t just hope for a miracle or accept fate, I had to work myself back … that tenacity stuff! And although I’m not yet fully “fixed,” I’m blessed with a crisp mind, a laughing mind, and my clumsy “words” are just new games! I’m blessed by my family, my friends, a wonderful language therapist, our town staff, some of our council members and most of our town. And I’ve come to realize that even in the face of a trip or a fall, or a clumsy conversation, it’s only left me the stronger.

“We better deal with each other out of need and not merit because none of us have enough of it — not me, not you, not anybody.” — Robert Frank

In service,

F. Gregory Wilder

Mayor of Coulee Dam

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