Write-in Braze focuses on future
Last November, 26-year-old Megan Braze won the first write-in campaign for the Hillsboro City Council on record. She was elected with 346 votes after no one formally filed to replace outgoing Councilor Nenice Andrews.
The Hillsboro Tribune caught up with Braze as she was finishing her first month on the council, where she represents the Ward 1 Position B seat and serves on the Transportation Committee.
Braze grew up in Hillsboro, graduated from Hillsboro High School and has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Oregon State University. She works in inside sales at Gaston Sales Inc., a manufacturers representative company serving the semiconductor, silicon and solar industries.
She is a member of the preschool board at Trinity Lutheran Church, and has also served as a high school youth leader and volunteer preschool Spanish instructor.
Hillsboro Tribune: No one can remember anyone being elected to the Hillsboro City Council as a write-in candidate before. When did you first realize no one had filed for the position and why did you decide to run?
Braze: City records do show this is the first time we have had a write-in. I realized no one had filed when I read a newspaper article in September. My decision to run was the case of the right time and the right place and feeling the need to step up and serve my community. I have always had an interest in politics. I studied political science at Oregon State University, interned in the state Legislature, and have volunteered on and managed political campaigns in the past. This seemed like an opportunity I couldnt pass up.
Hillsboro Tribune: What did you do to campaign for the office? Why do you think you won?
Braze: Winning as a write-in presents extra challenges as it can be difficult to convince voters to mark a circle on a ballot much less write your full name down. My experience managing and volunteering on local campaigns came in handy, and my strategy was a combination of the good old-fashioned way and social networking. I spent many nights going door-to -door talking to voters, I had an active Facebook page and website, and I sought out endorsements and was honored to receive one from the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce PAC.
Hillsboro Tribune: Since youre on the transportation committee, do you have any thoughts about the need for the westside transportation study the council requested before you were elected?
Braze: As a longtime resident, Ive seen firsthand that Washington County is growing both in population and business growth. I am happy that we are looking at short, medium and long-term solutions, but we need to be thoughtful. This is an issue for the region and the state and is much bigger than just Hillsboro. Today we have defined boundaries for future growth, and we can design a transit corridor around those parameters. The study will be multi-modal and examine a broad array of possible transportation solutions. This will be a collaborative effort, which Ive discovered is a trademark of how Hillsboro gets things done.
Hillsboro Tribune: Hillsboro City Council seats are not full-time jobs. Are you keeping your job and, if so, how will you balance your schedule?
Braze: I am committed to serving our community and will find the time to do the job well while maintaining my daytime career. This means lots of early mornings, late nights, and careful time management.
Hillsboro Tribune: What are your priorities on the council? Do you have specific programs or policies you are pushing?
Braze: Before I set specific priorities, I would like to learn more about the city, and my first six months will be my learning curve. Im not joining council with an agenda or specific set of policies, but I do care deeply about making decisions that value long-term livability in Hillsboro, instead of short-term solutions. Choices we make have long-term ramifications, and I want my performance as a councilor to be measured not just at the end of a four-year term but also by the state of the city 40 years from now.
Hillsboro Tribune: What issues do you think the council should address in 2013? Are there any that the public might not be aware of?
Braze: I think that Hillsboro does a great job of keeping citizens informed of whats going on. Hillsboro city government is very transparent and the publics business is conducted in a transparent, public way. I am confident the public will always have access to information and know about issues in advance. The councils agenda is published online the Thursday before a council meeting so people know in advance what is being discussed. Papers like the Hillsboro Tribune also do a great job of keeping the public informed. One thing that Id like to focus on this year is to continue to reduce the maintenance backlog for the pavement management program.
Hillsboro Tribune: Has anything surprised you about the being on the council so far?
Braze: Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful, and city staff does a great job of providing orientation sessions for new councilors. Ive only been at two council meeting and so far there havent been any surprises.
Hillsboro Tribune: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, if you have any?
Braze: In my spare time I enjoy riding my horse, Ludo, and hope to find time to compete in some dressage shows this year. Im actually going to try to ride at a show on the 16th thats a benefit for BEAT Therapeutic Riding Center in Banks. If you havent heard of them, theyre a great horse-related charity organization that serves the local community.
Hillsboro Tribune: How can constituents contact you?
Braze: Constituents can contact me via the council email address, email@example.com, or council phone, which is 503-681-6219.Add a comment