Karen Mayne is a Democratic member of the Utah Senate, representing the 5th District (map) in West Valley City since her appointment in 2008. She spoke at the 2010 National Meeting in Utah. We published a transcript of her speech in the Jan/Feb 2012 Mobilehome Magazine, pages 12-13. Her words resonated then, and we felt this was a good time to share them again (edited).
Good morning. My name is Karen Mayne. When I think about your situation, I think of dirt and home. They own the dirt and you own the home, and that is going to be the battle until it’s not the battle.
Cooperation, partnership and respect is the only way that makes it work. We have some big companies that own some of my big communities and it’s a battle all the time and we’re up for the battle and we know the battle. They are strong, they are big and they have a lot of money, and they have a lot of lawyers, but that’s ok. We know what our responsibility is, we know what we have to do.
The issue is who does what. And it’s particular to each one of your communities. Usually when they start things up again (organize), they have had one (resident organization) before and you know people get lack, but when there is a problem, up it bubbles. And I wish it wasn’t like that. I wish it was always going, always steady, always involved, always active because that shows strength.
I visit with them (park organizers) and we talk about how we can make this committee productive and make it reasonable and make it active. It’s always about the same things…And all these things are local. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill—a longtime Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress—once declared, “All politics is local.”
And it is. Everything is local. If it affects me, I’m at the meeting. If it’s a problem for me, I’m at the meeting. Hopefully, maybe, that culture can change. Ok, it’s my problem today, but I’m at the meeting because it’s your problem now. I’m at the meeting today because my problem was solved but I’m here so that I can help you with yours. And I hope that happens with you.
We were just speaking about in some of our communities in the southern part of Utah, where they are buying the dirt and the home (resident ownership). It’s all over, once you have that dirt, then you are secure, you are safe and I hope this translates into all parts of the country.
When you live close together, you got to be good neighbors, you have fights, you have problems, you have managers on you and things like that…it is a netted community. Which is a good thing. It makes you work together, which is a good thing.
Always be organized. If they (park owners) can pick you off, you’re dead. If you are organized all the time, they can’t do anything to you because you are strong together. If you are together you are strong, if you are divided, you will fail. And that’s what I’m telling you. Because collectively you are a mass. Always, always be organized. Always attend those meetings.
The companies where you own the home, they can count. When you have your meetings, if you only have 5 people, they say there are only 5 people, they don’t care, they are not involved I won’t cut down that tree or whatever. But if you attend the meetings, if you are there, if you are active, if you are responsive, they will be responsive to you. You know what that is. You are on equal ground, you will get more out of them. They have to address mass. You need to be strong, you need to be active, because if you are not, things will fall apart. The demands that you ask for today, that might take a few months, they will say they have lost interest with that,
Another thing that I would suggest, Always elect capable people, always that those people that work. Have you ever gone to a meeting and one guy blows, and you never see him again. Or he comes and they elect him, and then he’s gone. That’s not who you need. You need stability, every meeting. What can we reasonably do, responsible because you are dealing with really high powered companies and they know what they are doing. So people that are steady, people that are reasonable, people that are there, people who work, people that are respected in the community, that’s who you need.
You know there’s a song – united we stand, divided we fall. And if that isn’t a trueism. I don’t know what is. And it doesn’t matter what it is. It can be a family, it can be a neighborhood, it can be a state or a nation or whatever. Collectively when we come together we are strong.
There are four people, if they can divide you in half, I’ve won. As long as those four people, there is four and only one of me, as long as those four people stand together, I have to deal with them. But the minute I come in and I put a wedge between them, I win. Don’t let that wedge come! Be brave, be determined.
I’m tough, I’m scary, I’ve learned in life that if you believe in what you do and if you’re right in your mind, they respect you. Even if you’re wrong. If they respect that you have the courage and the ability to say “I think this is right, they will respect me because people respect strength, they respect courage, they respect bravery.
This is what I leave you with today. Remember this little blond Senator, Grandma, and remember what I’ve said.
Thank you very much. Karen Mayne.