Strong Towns all-star members Michael and Jennifer Smith were recently highlighted in their local paper, the Rockford Register Star as "People to Watch 2017." As the article aptly puts it, "Despite an average last name, the Smiths are no average couple." Together, they've been working to incrementally make Rockford a stronger town and this article is clear acknowledgement of that. Michael and Jen Smith have fought against the destruction of historic buildings, done the math on pipe replacement in their town, and brought the Strong Towns message to Rockford.

Without a doubt, Strong Towns has been a deep well of knowledge that has helped us clarify and quantify our principles, and to realize that our voices can help guide what is happening in our community.

We're glad to see the work of these Strong Citizens highlighted by the Rockford Register Star. The article mentions their advocacy in several local organizations, their commitment to biking and taking the bus, and their passion for their town.

I asked Michael and Jen how they felt about this honor and they said:

It was a surprise and honor to be nominated as People to Watch in 2017, and the designation has spurred us even harder to speak and live and act with clear intentionality this year and beyond. Without a doubt, Strong Towns has been a deep well of knowledge that has helped us clarify and quantify our principles, and to realize that our voices can help guide what is happening in our community. 

We know, of course, that voices being heard is a start but it's certainly not enough -- we feel challenged to more consistently live out what we believe makes for a great city and to call others to join us, and to speak and act when decisions are made contrary to the principles of equity and resilience for all residents in Rockford. Resolving to ride our bikes and the bus certainly doesn't make us heroes, but if we believe that they are important we'll put our money, time, and energy into learning everything we can about those systems and making them the best they can be.

So ultimately, don't just watch us, join us! Everyone has a role when it comes to making a city a better place."

Congratulations to Michael and Jennifer Smith for this honor and thanks for all that you do to help build strong towns.

(Top image from Rockford Register Star)