This is a letter to the editor written by Ithaca resident Meryl Phipps. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, please send them to Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.org.

It is my great honor to express support for West Fox in their candidacy for Ithaca’s Common Council. I have the pleasure of working alongside West at Village at Ithaca, a local nonprofit organization that advocates for equity in public education and related systems. Though West has only been a part of our team for a short time, they have already become an invaluable part of our professional community and the community of youth and families we serve.

It is no secret that our community is in a housing crisis, and yet the struggle for safe and affordable housing persists despite the ongoing public dialogue. As a person with lived experience with housing insecurity and professional experience supporting others navigating the same challenges, West brings a perspective to this complex issue that is desperately needed. Their voice at the table is necessary to shape the conversation and produce action for our most vulnerable community members.

Between my professional and personal life, I spend most of my time with young people. One thing that I have struggled with as both a mother and youth development professional is convincing disenfranchised and marginalized youth people that their participation in our government can still matter. I am so grateful that West has chosen to bless this community and this city in particular with their involvement in our political process. The example they are providing for our young people is invaluable, and certainly way more effective than anything this old mom could say. Representation matters, and West is representing.