In high school, I was a shy kid with low self-worth. The one thing I was good at was basketball, but I fumbled any time I played in front of people.

One day, our team was in a dead heat, with the chance to win our first game in four years. With two minutes to go, I planned to stay on the bench so the better players could win. To my surprise – and protest – Coach MacFarland put me in.

We won by one point. And I scored the winning basket. Coach Mac believed in me, and for the first time I believed in myself.

There are so many “at-risk” kids who have little reason to believe in themselves, kids who get passed by. Ethan Strimling has dedicated his life to believing in those kids, recognizing the critical importance of literacy and education in transitioning people from generational poverty into lives of economic stability.

I believe in Ethan Strimling and I hope you will join me in voting for him for mayor!

Diane Russell

Democratic state representative

Portland