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Years ago, I heard someone say, “The most radical thing a young person can do in America is to not move.” They continued to explain how living and participating in your community — no matter how troubled it may be — holds the greatest potential to transform America into the educated and inclusive society we so desperately need. In short, invest and engage in your community — don’t flee.

Until I purchased a run-down Victorian in Ward 1, I’d never lived anywhere more than 14 months since moving away from my childhood home. Landing in Eureka, I fell in love with our historic architecture, the working-class diversity, and the edginess of a city framed by the Pacific and tooth-picked by redwoods trees. I’ve never once missed the corporate sprawl of suburbia or the mono-culture of communities that draw lines around those who are welcome and those who are not. Like any community struggling to stabilize its economy, improve public health, and attract families and young professionals, Eureka needs experienced and humanitarian leadership. As a resident of Ward 1, I greatly fear the rhetoric of conservative candidates who promise to roll back time to an era when xenophobia and racism ran rampant.

Leslie Castellano has spent the past 14 years in Eureka. As a young woman, she stayed, pouring her heart into the community through creative and open-minded leadership. A talented visionary with a kind smile, Leslie’s grounded and progressive perspective is exactly what Eureka needs to evolve and thrive together.

Nora Mounce, Eureka

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