From: Jayston Seeling
I am disappointed. Unfortunately, disappointment is something that I’ve become accustomed to as a life-long resident of Winona. On December 12, the County Board chose to move forward with their plan to build a 78-bed jail, without granting the public hearing being requested. Over the past few weeks, momentum was building as more and more concerned citizens spoke out against the proposed jail expansion. There was an outcry from many members of the community asking for a chance to have their voices heard at a public hearing. As someone who has not often actively participated in the local democratic process, I was excited to have my voice heard and see the conversation start to shift in favor of hearing from the community before proceeding.
The board chose to ignore those voices and deny a public hearing by a vote of 3-2 against. Listening to the board’s conversation before, during and after the proposed motion made it clear that at least one of those nay votes, Chris Meyer, was made because of personal feelings towards her fellow commissioners. Her words seemed to convey that she was voting nay to spite them and fulfill a personal vendetta.
But I am not defeated; I am inspired. I will continue to show up and have my voice heard. I will use my voice to shed some light on these ill-informed and biased decisions the board is making when they think no one is watching. Decisions that have a large impact on our community, especially those who are disenfranchised. I will use my voice to help move us into the future — a future that is better for all of Winona’s citizens.
I am disappointed, but I am in no way defeated.