I have watched and “video blogged” every single Ashland city council meeting for over three years. I know, it’s a weird hobby. But it allowed me to see both of our present mayoral candidates begin, and engage, in their present city council positions. I was able to compare and contrast them with previous councilors and against each other and based on that, I believe that Julie Akins should be the next mayor of Ashland.
Both are well-meaning, exceptional citizens of Ashland but Julie Akins has the chops for the two main things I am looking for in a mayor - Leadership and Good Judgement.
Time and again Julie Akins engages an issue early on with an informed opinion and a clear point of view. She expresses her position on social media before meetings and is uniquely able to hone those positions based on comments and criticisms. Her opponent seems to need so much more input that her point of view is unclear. This is great for a manager. We have plenty of managers in Ashland. Julie Akins is a leader.
Watching both candidates question and comment on the big city issues of Ashland it is apparent that Julie Akins makes decisions more in line with what citizens are asking for rather than what the insulated group of city power brokers are lobbying for. She makes the wise fiscal choices while also aligning herself with the social issues that coincide with the unique character of Ashland. Her opponent tends to be swayed by the dominant prevailing city bureaucracy. Julie Akins shows good judgement.
As we’ve learned from 2020, we need leaders who can adapt, communicate, and make good choices. I think Julie Akins will be that leader. Julie Akins will be a great Mayor of Ashland.
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Tired of the rising costs and spend-spend-spend mentality of Ashland’s current mayor and governance? Then I urge you to vote for Julie Akins for Mayor. Akins is committed to fiscal responsibility and accounting, as well as transparency. Along with 70% of Ashland's voters, she opposed the recent City Hall bond (which her opponent strongly supported). I suggest you visit her website julieakins.com (blog/on the record, how I voted) to see for yourself what her record is versus her opponent. Akins also opposed raising garbage and utility rates; her opponent voted in favor. If you want positive change here in Ashland, then vote for Julie Akins for Mayor!
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Doing the hokey pokey! yep, I've decided to bow out of the mayoral race, and throw my support behind Julie Anne Christie Akins. When I stepped into the race, Tonya Graham was running unopposed - the last in a long legacy of a political inner-circle running this town, poorly. I couldn't stand to see Ashland turn into a place like Aspen or Tahoe, where a few people dole out cushy jobs and handouts to their friends and family while the locals that made the community vibrant are driven out in lieu of rich tourists' empty summer homes. While I'm definitely left of Julie Anne Christie Akins, politically, I think we agree more than we disagree, and certainly more than the conservative-leaning alternative on the ballot. So, I'm stepping aside, and wishing Julie Anne Christie Akins the best of luck in helping to save the soul of Ashland.
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Historian, Political Leader
The race for Ashland mayor between councilors Tonya Graham and Julie Akins is, in a nutshell, not only the marquee race between two current leaders but rather crystallizes the choice before the voters this election. Ashland is at a crossroads. We can determine to stay the course and continue the policies that have led us to this point, or we can change. The mayor’s race in 2020 offers us a clear choice between the status quo and change.
Julie Akins, a journalist with a background in teaching and communication, has been a lone voice on the progressive, people-first side of many of Ashland’s most contentious issues. Her votes, her platform, and her writings seek to change the way Ashland approaches its future and better reflect the views of the community at large.
I voted for both Julie and Tonya in 2018 and I expected them each to bring much needed change to the Council. Tonya, almost immediately, proved a huge disappointment. She voted to raise utility fees, she voted to appoint former Councilor Morris (whom she had defeated) and Jim Bachman (the husband of Jackie Bachman) to serve on the Citizens Budget Committee, assuring a status quo majority (and we know how the budget process worked out). Tonya served on the Mayor’s “Revenue Enhancement” committee that proposed a $10.2 million bond, considered another increase in utility fees, and even a new “ticket tax” to avoid cutting city spending. And, of course, Tonya actively supported the City Hall bond, even after the onset of COVID-19, making some of the craziest, out-of-touch, statements I have ever heard come out of the mouth of an Ashland leader in the process.
ASHLAND NEEDS NEW IDEAS AND NEW LEADERSHIP.
In her two years on the Council Julie Akins has reliably voiced the concerns of the average resident, especially those people for whom $15 a day for city services isn’t a “bargain,” as some have described it. Julie has questioned the city’s budget excess, looked for ways to support increased housing options and expand our economy beyond tourism. Julie’s work with underserved communities, BIPOC, and the unhoused evidence her own commitment. She has again and again resisted the Council’s efforts to subvert the public process, most notably in the City Manager hiring process, and has always been open and transparent about what the city is doing. Julie reaches out, through social media and the press, in ways to inform Ashland residents of issues before the council and the potential implications of the decisions the city is making. Just in the past few days, Julie has posted updates and information both during and after the fire, causing one local to note, accurately, that Julie Akins was doing a better job of being a mayor than Ashland’s actual mayor....and that she was doing so from a hospital in Medford, where her husband is recuperating! Julie is a professional communicator and, more importantly, values input from citizens and actually listens.
For that reason alone, Julie Akins represents a new, and much appreciated, kind of Ashland leader. I enthusiastically endorse Julie Akins as Ashland’s next mayor. We need new ideas and deserve a better approach. Julie doesn’t have all the answers. No one does. But she is asking the right questions and she deserves your support.