Hello Whistler lovers and voters,
I wanted to thank each and everyone of you for coming out to the all-candidates meeting last week. It shows that our town is engaged and passionate about who will take us through the next four years. It has been absolutely humbling for me these last few years, being in a position of service to our community. If this is your first visit, I’d like to introduce myself…
I’m Jen. Nice to meet you. I’m glad you’re here and engaging yourself in this 2018 election.
First, I’d like to share with you some of my history and background:
My first dream as a child was to protect the vulnerable, and my dad told me that the best way to do that was to work in government. I had no idea then that I would pursue this life. Surely enough, I attended York University and studied Political Science. After I finished university, I packed my bags to head across the country to try out this awesome town called Whistler.
I came to Whistler in 2002 to ski for “just a season”, and, you guessed it, loved it so much that I decided to make it my permanent home. I met my husband here and we have been supporting each other to live our dreams ever since. It hasn’t always been easy. We changed our address 9 times in the 15 years we rented, due to multiple homes being sold, suites being renovated and needing more space for our future family. We had put in several offers on many Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) homes in 7 years, always coming up a little too low on the waitlist. In April 2017, we finally hit the WHA jackpot and purchased our first home. We truly know how difficult and stressful it is to find and secure housing, and that’s a big reason why one of my first priorities as a Councillor is to help more Whistlerites into safe, secure and affordable housing.
In 2013, we were blessed with our miracle baby, and life certainly got interesting! We immediately put our names on the waitlist at the daycare centres, even before telling our friends and family. I had seen friends and co-workers struggle with balancing work and family commitments so I knew how challenging it would be once I went back to work. Little did we know that Rainbow and Cheakamus Crossing families had a massive baby boom* in 2013. More than 110 babies were born to Whistler families that year! In a town that had struggled for years to provide adequate childcare, Whistler was only able to provide about 7% of the needed spaces for infant and toddler care.
I worked for Whistler Blackcomb from 2002 until 2016 in several positions ranging from Ski Patroller to Retail Manager to Conference Sales Manager. In 2011, I ran for council, wanting to make a difference for families struggling to find daycare, wanting to support affordable housing, and wanting to be a part of the process. I was unsuccessful that year, but was determined to do my homework and commit to the process of working hard and educating myself get the votes I needed next time. I attended nearly every council meeting and public engagement I could from 2011 until 2014. I involved myself in community groups, board and volunteer opportunities. I ran for and was elected as a resident representative to the WHA board and also became a board member for Whistler Animals Galore.
In 2014, I proved to the community that I was dedicated, informed, and serious about my goal. My lack of direct political experience was my weakness at the time, but I made sure that my attitude and willingness to apply myself was seen as just as important as being a great public speaking politician.
Since being elected, I have been the voice for for families and front line workers. I work hard at being informed and grounded while I am working my other roles in parallel with balancing my family’s needs and other jobs and commitments. Let’s just say we have a very organized calendar system, but we are definitely a part of the “high-five” parenting families (one comes home as the other leaves for work, inducing a “high-five” so that there is always someone with our son.)
I’ve been told that while my achievements on council have been great, and it’s important for the community to understand my experience is now my strength, that I am still a voice that needs to be heard at the council table. I encourage you to check out my experience, on-Council successes and snippets of my voting record online here.
Thank you for reading, engaging in this process and please re-elect me to Council on or before Oct 20th!
*2010 saw almost 400 affordable ownership homes introduced by the Olympic Legacy homes and the Whistler Housing Authority. Naturally, when families can settle, a baby boom occurs!