Gracy Daughters Inspired By Mom's Campaign Lessons
Dunedin's latest City Commissioner-elect, Heather Gracy, has tried to serve as a positive female role model for her three daughters, ages 14, 11 and 5.
Jillian Gracy's eyes welled with joyful tears when she talked about her mother Tuesday night.
"I'm so proud of her," she said, cupping both hands over her mouth and nose.
Jillian, 14, is a freshman at Clearwater Central Catholic and the eldest daughter of Heather Gracy, a newcomer to the Dunedin political scene.
Her mom just ran a seven-month campaign and unseated an established incumbent for Seat 3 on the Dunedin City Commission — a feat long considered by political experts to be a statistical David vs. Goliath.
"I just think it's so cool. ... She'll be overseeing everything," Jillian explained. "Like going to those (city) meetings, but she's going to be in a high seat now."
Heather Gracy spoke frequently and openly on the campaign trail about the positive female example she hoped to set for her three young daughters: Jillian; Jolie, 11; and Jessica, 5.
“The type of depiction I can set for my kids, for my girls, that’s the most paramount thing in my life,” she told Dunedin Patch over the summer.
Gracy's girls helped with the campaign, too. They did sign waving, rubber banding, and stuffing envelopes for their mom's campaign. Jillian said she also did some babysitting. No matter what, though, Mom always found time to be Mom, she said.
On Tuesday night, when preliminary election results showed a strong lead over David Carson, the Gracys celebrated with 100 or more supporters at Kelly's.
All three daughters were there to acknowledge Gracy's accomplishment.
"I definitely think she had her ups and downs," Jillian said. "(Mom) taught me to never give up, even when you're in a low point. ... Brush the dirt off, stand up, and keep going."
Jillian's younger sister, Jolie, a student at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, learned to "never give up and to always go through with your plans."
Jolie even picked a popular song on Spirit FM to be the campaign "theme song" for her mother's long campaign ride.
Gracy said contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Shawn McDonald's "Rise" uplifted her during some of her campaign's bumpiest parts.
"In the simplest of terms, without getting too spiritual, it means even when you're down, there's no where to go but up — because I've been down a few times on the campaign," she admitted. "... If you get knocked down seven, get up eight."
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