Hear my heart… hear my WHY! – Stan Parker
On the short list of unarguable roles we ALL expect and need our government to play
I believe Law Enforcement is at the very top of that list!
And how our government executes that duty is one of the most significant factors that directly affects our ability to enjoy safe communities!
The amount of lawlessness we are currently seeing in our country is shocking! How did we get to this place?
There is an ancient proverb that says…
“Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.”
Allowing laws to be broken without consequences HAS CONSEQUENCES!
And one of those consequences is an INCREASE in laws being broken!
Without a doubt the way rioting, looting and violence against police officers during 2020-21 was handled is a significant contributor to how we got to where we are as a country.
And how we handle crime going forward will significantly impact our future experience as a nation, state and city!
I believe in strongly upholding the rule of law!
And I believe in strongly supporting those on the frontline of stewarding that task on our behalf… our police force!
The amount of disrespect, sometimes to the point of disdain, that was shown toward police, expressed by a significant disregard for their authority, did damage to the moral soul of our country.
Damage that has sent us moving in a wrong direction!
A direction that has yet to be adequately countered!
Inertia in physics is a property of matter that makes an object stay in the same position or continue to move in a straight line until its state is changed by an external force.
The death of George Floyd was an “external force” impacting the status quo of where we had been regarding our relationship with law enforcement
and a fundamental change occurred
sending us in a different direction!
I don’t believe we will just automatically return to our previous normal!
Nor do I think we should completely… no one would claim we had reached perfection.
I also don’t believe our current direction is acceptable!
Therefore I believe we need to initiate intentional counter forces
that create change
and get us moving in the right direction!
If elected mayor, my priorities, specifically in terms of what the mayor has direct control of, that I believe would generate the necessary force (F.O.R.C.E.) to create the change in direction we need are…
- Forging solidarity! – …because to serve on the front, you must know that your mayor has your back!
- Optimal leadership! – …because the mayor’s role isn’t to figure out the “how to,” it is to figure out the “who to!”
- Relevant metrics! – …because “Trust but verify” continues to be the way of wisdom for delegating without abdicating and for ensuring we are getting on and staying on the right course!
- Community engagement! – …because no one loves rules enforcement without relationship engagement!
- Endorsing campaign! – …because we have MUCH to be proud of with our police officers!
I STAND for Opportunity…
I believe Lincoln can display compassion at its finest
and foster the dignity of those in need
by fighting for equal opportunity
not by forcing equal outcome!
We live in a land of great opportunity!
We are a people of great generosity!
Either can be taken advantage of.
One definitely leads to a chance at prosperity!
The other potentially leads to the chains of dependency!
Whether to help people in need,
be they domestic or from overseas,
there is no argument or debate!
The question on the table
is how to do it and not enable
while helping them put food on their plate!
Although some strategies are controversial,
there is one that is transformational,
and that one should be at the top of the slate!
By it, Frederick Douglass went from slave to statesman,
and Liz Murray went from homeless to Harvard!
Education is THE central component of a transformational strategy
that changes lives
and profoundly shifts the trajectory of families
from surviving to thriving!
Just ask Dr. Yvonne Thornton and her sisters
whose uneducated, under-resourced father understood the transformative power of education, sacrificed to put his daughters into a position to learn, and in the end, saw most of them earn MD and doctorate degrees!
He dramatically shifted the trajectory of his family in one generation… through education!
As did my own parents… who didn’t own a toothbrush until they graduated from high school. Raised in a small, under-resourced community in South Carolina. Dad enlisted in the Air Force and worked part-time jobs on the side while Mom worked factory jobs at night. All to put me and my siblings in a position to get the education we needed to build a different life than what they grew up with. They too wanted to shift the trajectory of our family!
And it worked… in one generation!! With a sister graduating from Chicago University Law School; a sister earning her Doctorate, becoming a professor at Washington & Lee University; and a third sister earning her CPA. And you know my story.
My heart for Lincoln would be to see us raise the bar in our care for our neighbors in need from enabling them to survive to empowering them to thrive, taking full advantage of the opportunity our country provides!
As mayor, I would seek to engage all sectors of our city in a collaborative effort aimed at unlocking what I will call “transformational compassion!”
And in the years to come, we would, together, be able to celebrate our own “homegrown” stories that compete in splendor with the ones shared above!
When there is a failure to thrive, I believe it comes from one of three issues! “Want to issues!” • “How to issues!” • “Able to issues!”
Want to issues!
- stemming from a lack of character
- addressed through accountability
How to issues!
- stemming from a lack of competence
- addressed through education / training
Able to issues!
- stemming from a lack of capacity
- addressed through temporary, targeted resource supplementation
If elected mayor, I would bring a deep conviction that together, we can figure out how to become a city where people come to thrive!
Oh, one last thing, if you are unfamiliar with the stories I referenced…
“Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave” by Frederick Douglass
“Ditch Digger’s Daughters” by Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D.
“Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard” by Liz Murray
I STAND for COLLABORATION!
“… to work jointly with each other”
I believe strong, vibrant working relationships among civic, business and nonprofit leadership are vital to being a strong, dynamic city!
What is the role of civic leadership?
Several years ago I attended a college basketball game.
At the end of the game, as the refs walked in front of me, I realized I actually knew one of them!
I told him I had watched the entire game and somehow hadn’t noticed him!
I have never forgotten his response…
“That means I did my job! I am not supposed to be noticed.”
LIGHTBULB moment for me!
I have watched games where the refs were way too “noticed!” They were over-regulating the players, therefore, stifling play and reducing the teams’ ability to score!
As I have thought deeply about the role of government, his response has come back to me often!
I believe government should function like a great referee!
It should strive to find the proper balance
of appropriate regulation that ensures, and even encourages fair play
without tipping to over-regulation that impairs play!
at its best
If elected mayor, I will seek to forge catalytic working relationships with both the business and nonprofit leadership in our community!
There are strong leaders in the business community with a great passion for our city
there are strong leaders in the nonprofit community with great compassion for our city!
THEY are key players that make winning as a city possible!
In the city’s role as “referee,” I will work to ensure city regulations activate initiative and innovation instead of having them complicate and frustrate. This would allow leaders to accelerate the impact they seek to make in, on and for our city!
Government is to be the preparer of the community “soil”
ensuring everything is present for fertile growth,
removing anything that would impede growth,
which then allows businesses and nonprofits to plant their seeds, grow a harvest and bless our city!
If elected mayor my focus would be on health
believing that all healthy organisms grow
not all growth is healthy!
Cancer is a growth
tumors are growths
As a city we want growth that is cultivated in the rich soil of fiscal responsibility
growth that is protected from an overgrowth of taxes that would stress its yield
and growth that is sustained on the trellis of a maintained infrastructure!
Every person… every day… is in the pursuit of happiness.
And everyone has a strategy. Something they are chasing, thinking that in it they are going to find life.
For me, in the first 19 years of my life, my strategy was sports! I thought that if I achieved my athletic goals and reaped all the success that sports brought with it, I would be happy.
I still remember like it was yesterday…
as a freshman in college, sitting in my dorm room, reflecting on my life.
I had just come off my senior year of high school… a senior year where I had pretty much reached every goal I had set for myself. I was a blue chip recruit in football and could choose where I wanted to go to college on scholarship. Accepted a full-ride scholarship to UNL in Lincoln. I was undefeated heavyweight wrestling champion in class A. I had the 2nd longest discus throw in the nation. I was prom king. New car in the driveway.
And as I reflected on all those things and more, I was caught off guard by how all those achievements had left me empty. That led me to a lot of soul-searching and reflecting and reconsidering of my life strategy.
A number of life-changing decisions came out of that. One of which was the decision to pursue impact over income… making a difference over just making a living!
At the end of the day, records will be broken. Medals will tarnish. Achievements will be forgotten. But the impact of a life well lived and invested in serving others will not soon be forgotten, and the impact will ripple for generations.
This is what led me down a path of serving in nonprofits vs seeking success in the marketplace… a path that has opened up the privilege of supporting, coaching and encouraging countless others as they seek to build lives of meaning and purpose.
I would be honored to have my next place of impact be… making a difference through serving the people of Lincoln as your next mayor.
Stan founded MyBridge in 2009. He serves as the Executive Director, leading the growth of the ministry to encompass three domains – MyBridge Radio, MyBridge Momentum and MyBridge to the Nations.
Radio came first with the initial station being assigned from Mission Nebraska, another nonprofit organization Stan co-founded with Ron Brown: 95.7FM KROA in Grand Island. Under Stan’s leadership, today the MyBridge network consists of 9 full-power stations and 11 translators covering Nebraska from east to west along the I-80 corridor and north to south from Valentine to Beatrice. Radio assets are valued at about 10.1 million dollars and are all currently debt-free. In 2021, MyBridge launched MyBridge Español with AM 750 and FM translators covering Grand Island and Kearney.
And the growth hasn’t stopped! The purchase of a station in McCook is almost complete, and progress is being made to launch a Spanish station in Lexington!
Stan innovated the creation of MyBridge Momentum, focused on leadership coaching, organizational development, and strategic planning, in 2019. Investing in nonprofit leadership teams involves 3 all-day Quarterly sessions and a two-day Annual session, plus additional coaching sessions, each year. Through Momentum, Stan has been involved in implementing the proprietary Momentum Building Process with the leadership teams of dozens of nonprofits and investing in a multitude of leaders in both the nonprofit and business sectors through consulting and coaching.
As MyBridge has grown, the TEAM has grown, as well, now consisting of 40 individuals who are together accomplishing far more than they could have imagined as they serve to advance the MyBridge mission under Stan’s leadership!
“It’s been an amazing ride and opportunity to serve so many great people through MyBridge, and I would be honored to bring that legacy of learning and experience to serve the City of Lincoln as your next mayor.”
States have power!
I believe states that fight for unity
can forge a unique identity
and find they have autonomy
putting more of their destiny
INTO. THEIR. OWN. HANDS!
We have been tested as a country.
Testing that has exposed the competency
of our leaders.
All states went through the same fiery challenges!
Not all states fared the same.
The states that simply followed
the national narrative
shut down their schools and locked down their businesses
damaging their kids and their economies!
States with strong, united leadership
made different courageous choices
allowing their schools and businesses to remain open
therefore allowing their kids and their economies to remain healthy!
Lincoln is the capital city!
In so many ways, Lincoln brings Nebraska together,
from the Unicameral to the University!
With a national agenda continuing to be promoted
that at times is in stark contrast to Nebraska values
I believe Lincoln could play a critical role as a catalyst for unity
helping to bring Nebraska together around our shared identity
leveraging our autonomy
and taking more of our destiny
into our own hands!
If elected mayor
this would be a top priority!
Without compromising Lincoln’s interest
I would seek to work synergistically with the governor
and other state and city officials to those ends!
If we STAND together
we can STAND for what we believe,
STAND against what we don’t,
and STAND out as a state who knows who we are!
When I held the press conference to announce my official entry into the mayoral race, I had actually JUST completed opening up my campaign bank account, and I opened it with no money deposited, which actually I think was an oversight on their end, but it worked out well because we had no money to deposit. Nor did we have any money pledged.
Typically in a campaign at this level, that would not be the case of a serious candidate. I would guarantee that my top opponents launch with tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars given and/or pledged.
So a reasonable question to ask of me is why? Why did I start with a zero balance?
First let me assure you it wasn’t because I didn’t know how or didn’t have the contacts to raise comparable amounts of money. In my serving within MyBridge I have been successfully responsible for raising millions of dollars on an annual basis, for years!
My reason for doing things differently was very intentional!
The reason for my decision is articulated well in an ancient proverb…
“Do not pervert justice and show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone…”
What history sure seems to give strong indication to is that money given on the front end tends to give a few affluent people influence beyond what most of us would be comfortable with in light of the responsibility of that leader to pursue the best interests, not of special interests, but of the people.
So I wanted to set my direction, craft my platform and articulate my intentions without a divided heart… either real or perceived. My stand for Lincoln is based solely on my belief of what is best for the people of Lincoln.
And as the people of Lincoln engage with my campaign, I believe ample giving, from the grassroots, will follow. And I’ll have all the resources needed to fund a successful campaign, agenda free!
I STAND for Integrity!
I believe that the ability to build trust is the number one leadership competency needed today!
Lack of trust in leadership is at an epidemic level!
…and it’s costing us!
Stephen M.R. Covey calls the absence of trust a “tax” that we pay every day!
In his words, “When trust is low in any relationship, it places a hidden “tax” on every transaction. Every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down & sending costs up.”
In contrast, earning TRUST provides a “dividend!”
…reversing those trends!
“Conversely, when people operate with high trust, they’re rewarded with a “dividend.” And that dividend acts as a performance multiplier which accelerates the speed of communications, interactions, & decisions – and consistently yields far greater success.”
We MUST have trust rebuilt by our elected officials!
I believe one of the two pillars trust is built upon is integrity!
And I believe integrity, soundness of character, is demonstrated and trust earned by how one handles power.
The amount of power granted to our government officials to affect our lives and livelihoods is sobering.
Why would a free people entrust that kind of power to their government?
Because it’s to be exercised as shared power with the people, and with high accountability to the people.
Therefore we must have elected officials who have integrity so that they exercise that power with great care, in plain sight so all are aware, and in partnership with the community so the power is shared!
ACCOUNTABILITY through TRANSPARENCY
Working in the nonprofit sector I have a deep awareness of the difference between government (nonprofit) leadership and business leadership!
In a business, lots of money can be spent, many people can be employed and there is a clear measure of success for all stockholders to know if those expenses provided a justified return… PROFIT! That is the point of business and therefore that is the measure of success AND also therefore the basis of accountability.
How does that work when profit isn’t the point and therefore isn’t the measure of success?
YOU MUST IDENTIFY DIFFERENT MEASURES!
Our city government spends LOTS of money (our money) and employs LOTS of people (with our money!)
What are the CLEAR and TRANSPARENT measures of success for taxpayers to know those expenses provided a justified return?
I believe the key to clearly and transparently answering that question is the identification of meaningful, understandable measures of success that inform strategy on the front end and inform stakeholders (taxpayers) on the back end, putting them in position to exercise appropriate accountability.
If I am elected mayor of the city of Lincoln, we will strive to reestablish trust by exercising a high degree of transparency!
… transparency rooted in clear definitions of success that are measurable, measured and shared!
We will all see clearly what it means to win as a city, how it ties to the strategies we fund and we will all consistently be able to celebrate clear, measurable success!
We will be a city that WINS!
As the namesake of our city stated in The Gettysburg Address honoring those who died, “…we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
… of the people, by the people, for the people… also known as shared power.
Since covid, justified by covid, we have experienced some government officials appropriating expanded power. And in its exercise, ceased sharing power with us.
They took the power that we entrusted to them and did not operate out of a trust in us.
Some would say that was a reflection of the need of the moment. I believe it was a reflection of the heart of our leaders and their belief about their entitlement to power and a lack of belief in us.
I believe we should have been informed, resourced and trusted, which would have empowered US to make the best decisions for ourselves, our families and our businesses.
While it appears we are approaching the back end of covid, their perspectives and heart have been revealed.
If I am elected mayor, I will serve from a heart that deeply believes that the power entrusted in me isn’t mine to seize, but ours to share.
Through our shared power, with accountability through transparency, we can operate with high trust, experiencing the dividends that will yield great success for our city!!