It is with a heavy heart that I type this message about the passing of City Council member, Kathy Thomas. Kathy passed away after battling illness on Sunday, March 12th. During my time on City Council, Kathy and I would meet for tea regularly at her house to discuss upcoming issues. She was always willing to share information and ideas and offer mentorship to those who would follow in her footsteps. Kathy gifted me the box of raspberry tea that I always drank when I visited her at her home. This is the last tea bag I had left. I'm sipping it while typing this post in gratitude to Kathy as she enters the next part of her journey. I don't know why I saved this tea bag as long as I did. It's been in my tea cupboard for a few months but it's perfectly fitting that I enjoy it as I reflect on our relationship, her dedication and service, and all the ways she touched people in Monona.
Kathy was an esteemed colleague and mentor who was legendary in her service to our city. Her service and sacrifices to Monona spanned almost 37 years. Given that astounding length of service, she earned the title of superhero in my eyes. Anyone who steps up to serve their community as an elected official has my utmost respect especially in these times where elected officials have become targets.
Kathy and I agreed on more things than we disagreed on. She knew how to respectfully disagree which we both felt was an essential trait in a council member. Her responsiveness was a great role model for council members and something I would strive for in my service as well. Now that I reflect on all the times we met, it was like she was helping the city create its succession plan by preparing the next generation to lead.
The phrase, "All politics are local," rings loudly for me all the time but it's especially loud right now. Local politics affect our daily lives more than any other politics. Kathy would want for people to step up to serve their community. We can all learn from Kathy's leadership and dedication to our great city. We have 18 standing committees and some ad hoc committees that function through volunteers who apply to serve. I encourage you today to consider applying for a city committee. In the organizations I have led, I always invite those 'squeaky wheels' to join the committees to try and help find solutions to their problems. In a small community like ours, it's imperative that everyone consider serving for a period. Service can run from one year to three years depending upon the committee.
My sincere condolences go out to all who loved and cared for Kathy especially her husband Bill and family members, and her colleagues. Given her many years of service and how deeply she cared, I am certain it is a very long list.
Yours in service,
Kristie Goforth, Candidate for Monona Mayor 2023