I have an unusual job. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to fly airplanes for a living. Even fewer have the privilege of teaching others how to fly a plane. A Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) takes the knowledge and experience they have in an airplane to teach new students how to safely operate aircraft.
What does it take to become a CFI? The obvious answer is time. Experience is the best teacher. Think about learning to drive. The first time a new student driver sits behind the wheel, what do they know about how hard to push the gas pedal to get the car to move? How far ahead of a stop sign do you have to let off the gas and start braking? After a little experience, most of us do these things by instinct. Now think about what it would be like to do this in an airplane. Most people do not have the instincts of a pilot prior to taking flight lessons. We know what it is like to fly in an airliner, but don’t have the knowledge of what makes an airplane fly and how to use the principles of flight for our benefit.
Why does this qualify someone to run for office?
First, I believe that the best pilots are the ones who have good judgement. It’s something I try to develop in myself. Judgement is experience and preparation, and I’ve climbed the corporate ladder, I’ve been a blue collar worker, and now I am my own boss. We need leaders who have the life experience combined with the judgement to see what is good for Kent County and what may not be good for Kent County.
Second, I believe that perspective leads to collaboration. One of reasons I love teaching people to fly is the ability to get up in the air and see how truly small we are. The sublime beauty of a sunrise is amplified when you are in it. Politics today has become divisive because we are no longer interested in the long term outcomes, we just want short term wins for our team. That is dangerous, it needs to stop, and we need to be able to recognize that we are caretakers of this county for our time.
Third I bring an unusual expertise to the Board: I have a knowledge of aviation. GRR is a great airport, one that has opportunity for growth both for the airlines and for general aviation. I would like to help GRR become all it can be, which in turn will help Kent County economic development, and make Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities that much greater a place to live.
We want to make Kent County a great place to live and work. To do so, we need Commissioners who have good experience and judgement. I humbly ask for your vote so that we can make Kent County the strongest in the state.