Letter: Heggins chose the hard way, made City Hall accessible

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 2021

There comes a time when each of us is called to choose the easy way or the hard way.

In 2017, Al Heggins made the hard choice of running for city council of Salisbury, a very traditional place with deep family roots and a rich, complicated history. Al’s ties are deep too; they are just not evidenced in tracts of land or elegant houses.

Al’s are evidenced in simpler ways — in friendships throughout the diverse, but often unseen, Hispanic, Muslim, and Asian communities of Salisbury. Al knocked on over a thousand doors during that first campaign. She wanted to hear what was on people’s minds, what were their concerns. And they responded at the polls: Al became Mayor of Salisbury by virtue of the tradition of the highest vote-getter becoming mayor.

She stepped into her role with all those voices on her mind and declared City Hall to be “the People’s House.” She fought to make City Hall, and the council accessible and responsive. And while she was doing that, she was also reaching out to state and federal resources, meeting them and impressing them with her broad knowledge of how government works, what can be leveraged by small cities and how the larger programs might be carried into Salisbury to improve the lives of all citizens, but especially those many, many voices she heard when knocking those thousand plus doors.

Al has withstood an onslaught of ignorant, racist, verbal attacks and threats. She has stood up against overt lies and infantile memes on social media and in a paper that has failed in its duty to investigate such matters. Al continues to choose the hard way because she is unafraid, fiercely committed to serving the people – all the people — and because she believes that equity and transparency will bring people back to having faith in their government.

For these reasons, I whole-heartedly check my ballot for Al Heggins for mayor of Salisbury.

— Whitney Peckman