The Post-Gazette asked the candidates for mayor of Pittsburgh to have supporters write columns on their behalf. This is the last installment. You can read the previous columns for Kevin Acklin and Franco Dok Harris at post-gazette.com/forum.
It's hard to believe that more than three years have passed since my son, Luke, became Pittsburgh's youngest mayor. On that September evening, my heart raced as he took the oath of office. My protective motherly instincts made me fearful of the new life he would lead. I could no longer protect him in this unpredictable profession. But with strong feelings of faith and pride, fear turned into a feeling of contentment.
I have no doubt my son was born to lead. From the time he was young, he always amazed me. Luke started walking when he was only nine months old. He wasn't the biggest or the fastest kid on the team, but he was the most determined. Calm under pressure, if the team needed him to kick a game-winning field goal, he'd get it done. There was never a challenge he couldn't meet and he was always passionate about doing the right thing, whether it was sticking up for the underdog or playing referee during a schoolyard fight.
Luke brings that same cool-headedness, passion and intensity into running the city. In a short time, my son has made Pittsburgh shine again by focusing on getting the city's finances straight and creating programs that make Pittsburgh the best place to raise a family.
From the time he was little, Luke has known the value of money. When I would give him a dollar to go to the candy store, he didn't waste all of it getting candy for one day, he would stretch that dollar so that he could have candy for a week. I've watched proudly as my son carries those same principles into running the city.
Speaking as a taxpayer, I like to hear that the city is living within its means and facing the real numbers. Luke's figured out ways to be more efficient, and you can bet that he puts great thought into every taxpayer dollar spent.
I'd like to believe parenting had a lot to do with Luke's approach to finances. Putting food on the table for three growing boys and providing them with a good education wasn't easy. Our sons never had the best toys, but my husband and I both worked fulltime to make sure they had the best education. Not long ago we watched as their neighborhood buddies left Pittsburgh to build their futures. Witnessing this was one of the reasons Luke decided to run for office.
As I sit back now and watch those same friends return to Pittsburgh to build their families, I smile with pride. I know that Luke has done a lot to turn Pittsburgh around. He was instrumental in creating the Pittsburgh Promise college scholarship program for public school students and is returning our city back to a place where anything is possible. Because he is smart with a dollar, neighborhoods are seeing investment again, our streets are safer and mothers like me are growing more confident for their children and grandchildren's futures.
I count myself extremely lucky that all three of my boys have found good-paying jobs near home. Luke will work hard to make sure that Pittsburgh has jobs so that today's generation of bright, young Pittsburghers can stay in the city and raise their families.
I love this city, I've loved raising my sons here, and as a new grandmother, I look forward to watching Luke's son, Cooper, have the privilege of growing up in Pittsburgh.
Once my son sets his mind to something, he gets it done. In the coming years, he will work hard to solve issues like the pension crisis so that future generations are no longer paying for the mistakes of the past. He will develop a business-friendly environment that makes the city inviting for new businesses to come here and small businesses to start here. He will make government faster, easier and more efficient by implementing new technology. I am proud of where my son is leading this city. Please vote for him Tuesday.
Cindy Ravenstahl is a former Pittsburgh crossing guard and now works for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. She lives on the North Side.