With rain pouring outside and my cheeks red from an unnecessary run I squeezed into my lunch break, I walked into City Hall to meet with Mayor Cory Mason for our scheduled-one-month-in-advance 1:30 p.m. chat.
Hurrying up the stairs to the second floor and taking off my soaked jacket, I stepped into the office and greeted his secretary. Immediately, Mayor Mason popped out of his office with a smile. “Good to see you Paige! Staying warm out there?”
Ushering me in, the jolly Mason casually took a seat at one of his two leather couches. Sitting on the opposite couch, the room looked bigger than I’d remembered since the last time I’d seen it as a young girl on a field trip in middle school. “Yeah, this room is actually larger than most apartments I’ve lived in,” Mason said with a laugh.
After a bit of small talk, I asked about his upbringing, and we realized we had quite a bit in common. Both Case Eagle alumni, we compared our time at the local high school, and besides the 20-year difference, our experiences were similar — well, other than him one-upping me by taking calculus (I never was one for math).
Mason and I both have loving parents who raised us in Racine and encouraged involvement in the community. “They sure raised me well,” he explained, noting that his father is currently serving on the board of directors to revitalize Uptown Racine, among other things.
Once I asked about his family, I really became his No. 1 fan. “Tell me about your wife and three children!”
With a warm smile, he shared how his wife was just as motivated as he, working as a judge in the community and challenging him to be his best self (can you say “power couple”?).
His daughters, Amelia and Eleanor, were named after — you guessed it — Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. Once I heard that, I couldn’t believe my ears, as I had just finished a book on Eleanor. “She was a game-changer for women, and one of my role models,” Mason explained.
What really wowed me, though, was when I asked about his son. “He’s Corey Mason the fifth, if you can believe that!” Mason shared.
“Well, maybe he will follow in your footsteps and go the political route. Corey Mason the fifth for president!” I cheered.
With a chuckle, he was quick to answer: “Hey, don’t count out the girls.” What a smart man.
Mentioning how I’d like to be on his daughter’s future presidential team and picking up my things, I started for the door. Almost forgetting to give him the present I’d brought along, I tossed him a stress cube from my company. “Since I know your job isn’t stressful at all,” I laughed.
Walking out of his office and back into the lobby of City Hall, I turned back to ask one last question. “Mayor Mason, if I may, what advice would you give to your 20-something self?”
Without a second to think, my/your/our mayor smiled. “That it’ll all be worth it.”
Mayor Mason sees you as worth it, he sees me as worth it, he sees Racine as worth it. With his calm, likeable demeanor to his passion for our community, I felt proud to be a Racinian as I stepped out into the rain and noticed a ray of sunshine popping through the clouds.
With Mayor Mason leading the charge, I have a feeling Racine will be seeing quite a few sunny days.