I'm honored to have some of my most important qualifications and three of the issues I believe in the most featured on the League of Women Voters website.
Back in the Saddle
There is dirt in my mouth, blood dripping down my leg, and my heart is racing. I’ve fallen again yet the cool air, picturesque views, and downhill thrill make it easy to get up. To say I love mountain biking is an understatement. Not because of the fall, but rather because of the success. Here are the latest three lessons mountain biking has taught me:
1. Get over the fear.
Every time I ride, I fall. Every time. The first time I rode, I hit a huge boulder and straddled the middle bar of my bicycle. A pelvic xray, catheter, and three months later, my anatomy could finally handle the saddle again.
Last week, I caught the tree root and was thrown off my bike onto a rock bed. I still have abrasions on my stomach and hip.
I have fallen going around curves, going up, going down, near rocks, and downhill. Every time I have fallen, it hurts. And every time I have fallen, it’s been because I was afraid.
There is no place for fear in mountain biking. It’s a sport that requires extreme confidence, intentional maneuvering, and purposeful agility. If you hesitate, you get hurt. Fearful thinking, lack of confidence, and uncertainty will get you a dislocated shoulder or a head injury.
It’s okay to think about the options, decide on the best one, and then implement. It’s important to be steady, consistent, and confident in the decision that you have made. It’s not okay to change your mind mid course, get off path, or be afraid.
If you are going to ride, get over the fear as quickly as you can.
2. It’s better to have a team.
I never ride alone for two reasons. The first is because there are too many unknowns.
Tires go flat, chains break, you crash, see a bear, run out of water, forget your fresh-ette, or lose your way. When you have a friend, you have someone who has knowledge, resources, and a skill set you might not have. You have four hands instead of two and two minds instead of one. With anything, it’s important to have lots of input and ideas when trouble shooting or planning.
It’s essential to surround yourself with people you trust and have the same goal of finishing and finishing well.
The second reason I never ride alone is because it is more fun with friends. There are sunrises, sunsets, beautiful lake views, interesting rock formations, flowers, and streams to see. Your friend might look at something in a different way or notice something you didn’t. You might appreciate or learn something new. You might enjoy the journey a little bit more because you had someone to share it with.
Friends also push you harder, wait for you, encourage you to keep going, and celebrate the adrenaline rush with you at the end. High fiving yourself isn’t much fun.
3. It’s hard, but rewarding.
Finally, mountain biking is not easy. Some paths are easier than others, but inevitably there is always a prep stage, uphill climbs, rocks to maneuver, and falls.
Conversely, there is also that point in the ride when you get to go downhill and feel the sunshine and wind on your face. There is that moment where the world all makes sense and the only thing that matters is that moment.
The reward comes after the hard work. Always. Don’t forget to enjoy it.
Big vision fuels mayoral run
Three years ago, I was swept away by an undertow while on vacation in Mexico. Every time I tried to stand up, a wave knocked me down. Every time I tried to swim to the side, I was pulled out farther.
In those crucial moments, I did not know if I would survive. I was eventually rescued. That was my “ah-ha” moment.
Beyond my family and the military, I asked, “What am I doing to give back?” If my life had ended that day, had I made a difference? Since then, I have chosen to live a life with purpose and meaning by giving back to my community.
Yes, I am the volunteer president of the Children’s Museum of Cheyenne board, and we are going to ask the citizens if they would like to invest in Laramie County’s children and our future through a quarter-cent, temporary, four-year sales tax.
This will be combined with the $3 million of private money already raised to help fund the Children’s Museum and a community performing arts space, fill “the hole” and revitalize our downtown. Our downtown is struggling. Destinations like this have been shown to help revitalize downtowns in communities across the country.
I am also executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. There is synergy between the efforts of CMC and the DDA. Both are dedicated to safety, fixing blight and offering a downtown destination.
Through my experiences as a small business owner, the military and CMC, I recognized weaknesses in the DDA organization. I knew I could help strengthen the organization by stabilizing internal policy, securing future funding, and establishing and then implementing strategic plans to move the downtown forward. In this last year, these items have been achieved, and we continue to move forward.
If elected your mayor, I will oversee the board of directors that governs the DDA. I will no longer be the executive director. I will also resign my position as president of the Children’s Museum. We have committed board members already assuming greater leadership roles to ensure the museum effort will continue.
My experiences have also helped me recognize weaknesses within city government that I know I can help strengthen. These areas include economic development, the budget, organization, and the health, wellness and safety of our community.
I have many ideas to move our community forward. Twelve of these ideas are outlined in my action plan on my website (www.surdamfor
mayor.com). I am actively implementing some of these ideas now because as a private citizen I want to make a positive difference in our community every day.
I have a big vision for our community: to create a positive place for families, residents and visitors. I outline what this looks like in my action plan.
I am a proponent for and support many community endeavors with zeal and personal investment: the military and military relations; health and wellness, to include accessible health care, a community culture of health and emergency responders; our workforce; private development; affordable housing; amenities; and small business owners. I want success in all of these areas and additional areas.
I want our community to adopt a culture of moving forward, a “we can” mentality and achieving what seems impossible. I will continue to focus on areas that I feel are vital to our future.
My personal agenda is giving back to my country and community at the highest level. I have talents and a desire to share these with you, my beloved community. I am committed to bettering the lives of all who call Cheyenne home.
Amy Surdam is a candidate for Cheyenne mayor. This op-ed is her rebuttal to the WTE’s recommendation editorial published Sunday, July 17.
I am so thankful to be recognized as this mother’s choice for mayoral candidate!
Speech for Meet and Greet at Judy Kallal’s
I’m Amy Surdam and I am running for Mayor because I love Cheyenne. I want Cheyenne to be as great as its people.
Today I want to talk to you about how I would be as your next Mayor through the eyes of branding and marketing.
Gabe Kaufhold is this amazing 23 year old millennial who can do something that I can’t do: he can design.
Since I decided to run for Mayor, Gabe has been there will me every step of the way helping me brand and market myself as not only a Mayoral candidate, but as the best Mayoral candidate.
He first designed my logo and it had blue and red and white and stars and I immediately said no. I’m a straight shooter like that. Life is too short to waste time and honest feedback is not distributed often enough.
I said, “I think you maybe need to understand a little bit more about who I am” so he came over. He met my kids and my dog Marley. I showed him my clean kitchen counters and minimalistic preferences. Next we sat down at my kitchen table and began to brainstorm.
“Can we find a clean, organized brand amongst all the chaos?” I asked. That’s who I am after all: simply, straightforward, organized, efficient in a world of chaos. In fact, the more chaotic thing are the more organized I try to be. My son was in the hospital. I swept my garage. My other son left for Haiti, I cleaned my desk. The more stressed I am the more organized I am.
We came up with a very simple logo. I wanted to only use lower case, because I didn’t want it to be about me. I wanted to be subtle if possible. Classy. Not predictable, but yet not uncomfortable. I loved the sophistication of black and white, yet nothing is really black and white and so we added a splash of color: green. It’s energizing, modern, it means go. I wanted to be as simply as possible. My brand is just my name and the word mayor. There was no need to clutter it with anything else.
As a brand should be, this brand does reflect who I am and how I would be as the next mayor.
What is energetic? It’s a 0500 work out class, lattes, and working in uninterrupted blocks to maximize productivity. People often say “I don’t know how you do everything you do.” I don’t watch tv. I love to be productive and work. I have wonderful teams. I exercise, I eat right. I sleep 7-8 hours a night, I have family and friends who I love and they love me. Life is good. I do everything I do because it’s all important to me. I make time for it and I love it.
Besides the logo, a few other essential components needed to be formed to brand myself.
First, I had amazing headshots taken by Janelle Rose. We took them in the Paramount and in front of the Paramount. It was chilly and breezy outside and I felt so self-conscious and ridiculous posing like a senior picture. We also took a family photo. It was snowing and do you know how hard it is to corral 4 kids and a dog and a husband? It took us longer to get on the porch than it did to take the picture. I love these pictures to capture this time in my life both with what is happening but also the feelings of this journey.
I think as Mayor it important to capture what is happening, both subjective and objectively and communicate that to the public. Whether it is a picture, a video, a website, a Facebook page, Twitter, a newsletter, there needs to be lots of ways to communicate with lots of people in lots of different ways so that when they look at the picture and when they feel the picture, they understand what is happening.
Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Another component of my branding has been communicating a message and being consistent. On my website I have meet Amy and also my four part action plan about what I think is important to move forward as a community. There is a ton of detail about economic development, the budget, the city organization, and health wellness and safety. No one is going to read all of that! How can I communicate my message more effectively? Explain it to a five year old. I care about families and I care about a positive community. Is it positive? Yes. Does it help families? Yes. Ok, let’s go.
Finally, I have a blog. This is more of a diary approach to the community. We have the here-are-my-ideas-Amy and the blog is the hi-here-is-who-I-am-Amy.
Being Mayor doesn’t mean you are not human. I think being accessible, personable, and real, bring the organization and community together. The blog has also helped me clear my thoughts. There have been several that I have written that my campaign manager says, that’s good you got that out, but let’s not publish it. The blog has been a good lesson in choosing my words carefully, intentional communication, and staying true to myself during this process.
I’m so thankful for all of you and your support. I want your ideas and visions and your brand values. It’s important we pick the best from everyone and weave together a beautiful tomorrow that we can strive to attain. I’m asking you to vote for me so that together we can create our brand, our community brand, as we move into the future.
Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens
I cried today. I actually sobbed. Not about the campaign, but about life and the health of loved ones.
So, I’m sobbing and my sweet little boy, Lane, brings me my old doll from when I was a little girl. He says, “this will make you feel better, mama.”
I smiled at his sweetness and his absolute love for re-gifting. He will often find “presents” in our house and insists on giving these gifts to family and friends for birthday and other special occasions. This act of kindness did make me smile.
I have few mementos from childhood, and this porcelain doll in her yellow dress and bonnet has always been a favorite. I remembered she played a song, but I couldn’t remember which one. I twisted the silver handle and the song “My Favorite Things” played.
This made me laugh. I laughed because the words were fitting:
When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.
I also laughed because there is a favorite Surdam story of how my brother in law sang this song in high school and he is constantly and lovingly tormented and teased for it even now.
While I do like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, they are not my favorite things.
My favorite things are inspirational sayings like, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough” and “I don’t sugar coat stuff, I’m not Willy Wonka.” I can look at inspirational quotes over and over again and feel something every time. I love sharing them with those around me and reflecting or laughing at them with loved ones.
I love lotion and candles, sitting outside in the summer, clean sheets, and being in the mountains. I love pushing myself every day and feeling alive. I love living a life with meaning and purpose and knowing that my existence matters. I love brushing my teeth after I eat no matter where I am, not having bangs, getting up early, exercising, surrounding myself with my friends and family, karaoke, hugs, questioning things that don’t make sense, saying yes as much as possible, reading, organizing constantly, and crying when I am happy or sad.
But above all else, I love my family and all of my sweet boys who do things like recycle gifts just to see me smile.
Endorsement by Cheyenne Firefighter Union 279 Goes to Amy Surdam
On this page....
Enjoy a personal look at my experiences. Click here to review my blogs on healthcare and here for previous aeronautics blogs in the Fly Wyoming Newsletter. And please no negative comments! Being vulnerable is hard enough without all the cyber bullying!