Randy standing in a lawn holding a large banner that says Randy Westlund for Post Falls City Council

Why I'm Running For City Council

We need to ensure a strong community for our children

We've done a lot to enrich our lives over the past few years: suburban homesteading activities like chickens, gardening, bees, and the next door expansion project; dietary changes like producing and preserving more of our own food at home, getting further away from processed foods with corn syrup and seed oils, and generally buying higher quality produce; new business ventures, diversification of income, and a focus on resilience in the shadow of an increasingly uncertain world.

As we get progressively closer to what we consider to be the best way of living and as our children get older, my thoughts have turned toward passing things on. How can I set up my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren for success? Money is clearly the first thing most people think of, but it seems to me that inheriting a strong community is far more valuable. I'd feel a failure as a father if I let them grow up socially atomized and alone, as many are today. They need friends, people they can count on, connections in the community—in a word, social capital.

(Read: What Is Localism?)

The first step in passing on social capital has been finding some of it ourselves. Moving to a place with a thriving Traditional Latin Mass community has been by far the biggest source of this. Our parish is overflowing with young Catholic families having something like an average of eight children each. These are good people who are always willing to help each other out as they live lives filled with Christian charity, and we're blessed to be a part of it.

But there's a whole civic engagement side to strong communities as well, because a strong community really requires wise local government. It turns out that boring things like zoning, annexations, and public infrastructure are actually really important! The way we build, develop, and grow shapes everything for generations to come.

(Read: Seven Principles to Guide Development in Kootenai County)

Our county has been uniquely strained by recent events. Our population has exploded from political refugees leaving the west coast to escape crime, COVID lockdowns, and high taxes. Our median home value is $500,000 and median income is somewhere around $60,000 a year. Given recent inflation and the spike in interest rates, few people can afford to buy a house here who aren't selling a lifetime of equity from some house in California or Seattle.

We're in an emergency situation. Many of our friends are moving to the Midwest because they just can't afford to live here anymore. When young people can't afford to buy a house and raise a family, the area will wither economically and eventually collapse. Unfortunately, most people in local politics have no positive vision for how to move forward or how to address these issues.

Therefore, I have a positive obligation to be involved in the business of local governance. Even if it means that my businesses grow slower or that I have to sacrifice personal hobbies or time with my family. Because if something isn't done, then my children won't have a strong community to inherit.

So I've decided to run for city council here in Post Falls.

Walking in the 4th of July parade.

This is a big change of direction for me. I've never done anything political beyond voting. It's not a path I could have ever foreseen myself going down, nor is it one I particularly relish. And yet, sometimes duty calls and we must answer. There are much larger things at stake than my own personal preferences.

That said, it's also an exciting journey! It's an opportunity to force myself far out of my comfort zone, which is the only place I've ever found personal growth. I've spent the past year or two learning, thinking, and preparing for something like this even if I wasn't sure what form it would take. I've developed strong opinions on zoning, local ordinances, and formed a vision of where I think our city should go over the next 20 years. Given the long term impact of actions in this domain, any success here would have generational benefits for my own descendants and those of my friends here.

(Read: Book Review: Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It by M. Nolan Gray)

Here's a link to my campaign website, which has more info about principles and policy positions, for those interested. Wish me luck! Or donate, if what you see resonates with you.

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We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.



Start here

Curious about our life and journey? Here are some good places to start reading:

Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.