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Everybody Belongs.

I was able to share why I am running to retain my District 4 seat in today's Coloradoan.

Melanie Potyondy: Let's help more people thrive in Fort Collins (

Here is the text, for those of you who aren't subscribers:

Since moving across the mountains to start college at CSU in 1998, I have recurrently found myself searching for a sense of belonging. Numerous transitions to attend graduate school, complete an internship, get my school psychology career off the ground, and enable my husband to follow his professional goals made it difficult to find my bearings. Making my way back to Fort Collins in 2015 finally gave me the chance to establish the feeling of “home” I craved. My family’s southwest Fort Collins neighborhood, with my supportive “tribe” of neighbors, pack of children to run wild with my two young boys, job at a local high school a bike ride away, and family living close enough for spur-of-the-moment get-togethers, has provided a sense of connection I treasure.

As a person who always aspired to a career in public education and who has spent the last 15 years working with young people with disabilities, helping others and improving systems to achieve equity are guiding principles. In Fort Collins, when I have not been at my day job at Rocky Mountain High School, I have spent many an hour pursuing activities that have extended my capacity to effect positive change. I participated in City Works 101, have served on boards and commissions, lent my expertise to political and legislative activities at the state and local level, and have taken tangible steps to improve my community, like replacing damaged signing and picking up garbage. This past January, I was selected by City Council to fill the District 4 seat vacated by Kristin Stephens when she assumed her new position with the county. Now-Commissioner Stephens has endorsed me for the position, knowing that our shared values will enhance continuity. I am honored to be able to represent southwest Fort Collins in this important capacity and believe my judgment, work ethic, and interpersonal skills will help guide our community in a positive direction.

For me, forward momentum for a community is deeply interwoven with the concept of belonging. I am invested, as a Councilmember, in making decisions for our city that foster community character, long-term livability, and environmental sustainability, both for our current residents and for the young people who are heirs to our legacy. The COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous strain on people, local businesses, and community resources. In our recovery process, we must ensure that we provide supports and guidance that allow for all to have their physical, emotional, and financial needs met, so that we emerge from this crisis with a sense of resilience and renewed purpose. Moving on in a post-COVID world, we must continue to make progressive choices that ensure good-paying employment, safe and stable housing, community access, and a healthy environment to all our community members, regardless of race, income, or background. Through innovation, collaboration, and a systems approach, we can make strides toward Fort Collins being a place where everybody can thrive and where everybody belongs.

As the current City Councilmember for District 4, an individual with an intimate understanding of southwest Fort Collins’ strengths and struggles, and a vested interest in the longevity of this wonderful community, I believe I am the right choice to retain my position. I look forward to continuing to serve on Council and am grateful to all my supporters.

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