“We’re better than this as a community,” Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder said as he addressed threats made against elected officials during the Lacey City Council meeting on Thu., Nov. 18.
In his Mayor’s report, Ryder noted that he and Deputy Mayor Cynthia Pratt attended a National League of Cities conference this week. The League is an organization composed of 2,000 city and town leaders across the country.
Ryder shared that in a nationwide survey conducted by the League of Cities, results revealed that 81 percent of elected officials have received threats of violence either to themselves or their families. This includes physical threats such as gun violence, or verbal attacks on social media.
The mayor also recounted several stories shared by other elected officials. He said that some experienced having their kids being taken out of school or having to sleep in hotel rooms because of safety and security reasons. “They don’t feel safe in their own homes,” Ryder said.
“This is something that’s really hit hard for me,” the mayor stated. He also recognized some of the factors which might contribute to the increasing number of violent threats, “It’s been a tough year, and I think COVID has made more difficult, social media, this hyper-partisanship that we live in right now.”
He also focused on social media which he believes made it easier for people to post threats against elected officials. He also noted that city councilmembers have received social media threats on more than one occasion, to which his fellow councilmembers silently nod in agreement.
In addition, Ryder also slammed rumors and accusations that elected officials are using their position for malicious intent, “I know everyone in this council, loves Lacey. We’re trying to do everything we can to make it the best place we can.” The mayor concluded, “We’re better than this as a community, we’re better than this as a society.”
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