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Carolyn Wintersteen, Published November 01 2013

Letter: Williams to lead Moorhead

I’d like to share a couple of stories that illustrate why Del Rae Williams is the best candidate for mayor of Moorhead. I’ve known Williams since I first moved to Moorhead more than 15 years ago. But Williams recently reminded me not only of how we met but of our conversation that day. Our sons were in preschool together. As our 4-year-olds walked out of the preschool holding hands, (evidently) I said, wistfully enjoying this moment of peace between the rambunctious boys, “So cute. I wonder how long that will last?” It does sound like something I’d say, but the fact that Williams remembers it is astonishing to me.

This tells me she has a gift for remembering people, conversations, and observations – a gift for listening, connecting and hanging on to what’s important. Perhaps the best illustration of Williams and the qualities that make her an excellent candidate is the day we spent in the most unlikely workshop together – a workshop about changes in the IRS990, the tax filing for nonprofits. Looking back, it certainly made sense that Williams was there: She’s a CPA.

What didn’t make sense was that I was there. I am an actress. But as a new executive director of a nonprofit theater, and at the time it’s only employee, I thought I should attend. At one point in the workshop, the presenter was discussing the various online sites where nonprofit 990s are available for public review – it had never occurred to me that there would be sites besides IRS.gov organizing this information for foundations and individuals who wanted to examine the standing of organizations they fund.

And it certainly had never occurred to me that anyone in the public would want to see Theatre B’s 990, since we were such a small organization, barely required to file – when Williams commented about Theatre B’s financial position. I was amazed. How did she know anything about Theatre B’s finances, since she did not serve on our board, was not a donor and only occasionally attended shows? She simply replied, “I always look at the 990s of local nonprofits. I like to know how they are doing.” Really? Someone who likes to look at tax documents? Someone who reads a financial on her off time to get the story? Someone who cares that much about local nonprofits, even those she may not have the time or resources to directly support? Yes, really. That’s Williams. And that’s why she is my candidate for mayor.

Williams is both a “people person” and a “numbers gal.” She understands the value of personal and business relationships; the complexities of for-profit, nonprofit and public finances; and the balance between competing interests and the common good. She is level-headed, matter-of-fact, funny, and smart. And she cares deeply about Moorhead and it’s thriving future.

I hope residents will join me in voting for Williams – a new advocate for Moorhead with the personal qualities and bold vision to move Moorhead forward.

Wintersteen, Moorhead, is co-founder and executive director of Fargo’s Theatre B, which is contemplating a move to Moorhead.