They say to know your community, you can’t simply be a bystander. You must live it. Get involved. Give back. Immerse yourself in it. From that perspective, I feel like I know this community pretty well, and so too do countless others.But to understand your community, its soul, its people, you must do more than just live it.For me, having the honor of running for Mayor of the City of Columbia, two times now, has allowed me to understand our community in ways I never could have imagined. The experience of running for public office and interacting with thousands of fellow residents from all walks of life has made me a better Mayor, but more importantly, a better person.Over the last four years, you may have heard me at some point say that there’s never been a better time to be the Mayor of Columbia, Tennessee than the time that I have been honored to serve, these past four years, my first term. And, I truly believe that.I also believe there’s never been a better time to live in Columbia and never a better time to raise a family here. The reason for those opinions and that optimism has nothing to do with me—it’s because of you. It’s because of the ingenuity, the spirt and the passion of our citizens. It’s because of those of you who have lived your whole life here, your family for generations. It’s because of those of you who moved here during Saturn era, during the pandemic a couple of years ago, or even more recently. The city of Columbia is experiencing some of its best days thanks to a collective effort of so many; and it’s incumbent on all of us to stop and savor the moment, while working to ensure the moment does not soon expire.Sure, there are challenges. We must learn how to work together, better, across all sectors of local government and beyond. I happen to believe that’s not an impossible goal, the public should demand it, and for the sake of all of us, it’s time to make it happen. Additionally, we need to recognize that while many in our community are succeeding, there are others who struggle to make ends meet. We can’t truly thrive as a city until everyone within it has the same opportunities to succeed, until all parts of town show equal promise. And, we must balance our period of unprecedented growth and prosperity in a way that ensures our community never loses its identity, its character and its charm.Like many of you, among the many reasons I love this time of year the most is that it provides an opportunity for reflection on the past year and planning for the year to come. At our house, we try to make a practice of making a list we are thankful for from the year past and creating a list of things we wish to accomplish in the year ahead.When my family reflects on this past year, it’s a pretty easy list topper for us — you, the Columbia voter. For entrusting me for another term. For placing your confidence in me. And for your constant prayers and support and encouragement. I am also thankful to live in Columbia, Tennessee, a place I’ve called home for all my life. Grateful to be surrounded in this place with family and friends who are like family. And, I appreciate the blessing to live in an area overflowing with natural resources and beauty.For my 2023 task list, the usual suspects find their place — read a few more books than the past year, write a few more handwritten notes, make some new friends, reconnect with old friends, and help my wife and kids achieve their goals and dreams. But, also on my list includes maximizing on the abundance of opportunities for our great city, and working as hard as I can to make it the best it can be when it comes to living, working and raising a family.I hope you have an opportunity to reflect on your blessings of the past year, and make a plan for the year ahead.When thinking about what you are grateful for, I hope your community makes the list.Be proud of your community. Take pride in calling this place home. It sure is a better place because you’re in it.I am proud to be your mayor. And, I will take pride in that each and every day over the next four years.Chaz Molder, the youngest Mayor elected to serve the city of Columbia, was re-elected to the position on November 8, 2022, and will be sworn in for his second 4 year term in January 2023.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: Chaz Molder: Community Thanksgiving