Editor’s note: Helen Higgins sent the following email and it is published here in the format of a letter to the editor.

Thank you for all your support, encouragement, coaching, donations, letters, talking to me at farmers’ market and for answering your door when I came knocking! And mostly, thank you for your vote! 5,111 of you filled in the bubble next to Helen Higgins — thank you!

Even though the outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for, I am more inspired than ever to continue to contribute to our community to help bring important topics and ideas forward that I learned about on the campaign trail. I will continue to do the good work for youth and families at the Boys & Girls Club and will do that with the benefit of even more community knowledge and connections.

As we move forward, we will move the needle on low-income and workforce housing. I plan to continue my exploration of employer-assisted housing options so we can house more of our local workforce so they can live where they work. If this peaks your interest, let me know and I would be happy to get you involved as we progress on this concept.

Please continue to get informed on the future of the regional landfill that is housed in Benton County. There is a listening session beginning soon, but you must proactively ask the questions of your commissioners around annual dumping volume, caps and years left around dumping capacity. Let’s get the conversation started (again) on recycling and reuse innovation, and on what happens when it’s full in 14 or so years?

We need to slow down our production of waste and look for new ways to keep more material out of our landfill. This is a long-term and strategic issue as this will eventually be our financial and environmental remediation responsibility for generations to come. 

Please make your voice known with your county commissioners regarding what you think it will take to help our community build a “right-sized” justice center. Most importantly, help them understand what would get you, and other voters, to say yes on a bond measure. And let’s continue to support the investment in mental health and addiction treatment.

There are several other important issues and opportunities that came forward — so what I would ask is that you make your voice and your ideas known. The commissioners are there to serve us all, but if you don’t speak up, and show up, they can’t do their job as effectively. 

At minimum, sign up for their meeting announcements and packets so you can read the agendas and meeting materials. You will learn a lot, trust me!

I would like to congratulate my opponent, Pat Malone, and all the other candidates that made it through the primaries for the November general election. Please remember to vote; it’s how all this works best in our democracy.

And I’d like to share my appreciation for all the other candidates that ran in the primary and didn’t make it — this time! I think collectively we have the momentum and the community’s attention to work together to drive for good change!

Helen Higgins