Winston uses the phrase ‘civic virtue’ several times over the course of our conversation, referring to the standard of behavior in relationship to a citizen’s involvement in a respective community. As beautiful a term as ‘civic virtue’ is, the practice of it is not always comfortable or convenient.
“The first person who suggested I run for office was a CMPD officer,” Winston recalls. “And I just wasn’t seeing anyone else stand up to take this on; and I thought, ‘someone has to do it’, and if it’s not me, then who, and if it’s not now, then when.” He announced his candidacy in June.
He subconsciously combines that sense of responsibility and initiative with his natural ability to build bridges, to remain cool under fire, and to think pragmatically with emotion.
“And that’s how I found myself in this office,” he says with that contagious laugh again – this time slightly more ironic. He’s speaking from his campaign’s headquarters in Hygge’s Camp North End location.
As his production work as both citizen journalist and social activist unfolded last year, he needed a place to get organized – and to start the work he was driven to do. “It wasn’t working for me at home on tops of piles of laundry with the kids and the dogs,” he says. Someone introduced him to Hygge. The podcast studio and the 24/7 access were perks; more so though, it was a place Winston felt comfortable for several different reasons.
“I love Camp North End as a place and an idea that’s developing and anchored with people,” he notes. “And it’s not tearing anything down, but it’s building on the history; it’s a metaphorical match for what I’m trying to do.” He tours us quickly through the campaign’s HQ that spans three different rooms – one of which is stocked with toys and videogames to entertain Winston’s three, young children (ages 10, 5, and 1) when they’re on-site.