I want to confirm for those of you who may have missed my announcement, that yes, I will run to keep my seat on council this October. It has been a privilege to work with council and staff on your behalf for the past four years. It really is something else, being put together with 6 other individuals from different backgrounds to navigate local government. I had prepared myself: I attended council meetings, I read the agendas, and I got involved in a variety of non-profit groups in our community.
Four years ago, I was balancing the demands of a one-year-old child with the uncertainty of finding childcare so I could return to work. While raising a young family, renting an affordable place to live, and waiting for our turn to come up on the WHA waitlist, I was engaged in community events, public interests, and wondering what would come next given our stabilizing economy, post 2011. But I had all the same late-night worries about paying rent and making time for family that my friends had. It was important to me that someone could share those interests and concerns with the decision makers.
What I couldn’t have prepared for was the immense responsibility of weighing the competing interests and needs of such a diverse population. I’ve met for coffee and many walks with people to discuss important issues, which has helped me understand things in different ways. As a councillor, I get feedback from my neighbours and others, seek as much information as I can find, and then ask the questions that inform my decisions: Is this best for our community? Are there different perspectives to consider? Are there better alternatives. Taking all that into consideration, I cast my vote with what I’ve learned and with my heart and conscience.
Four years in, I still have something to offer the conversation, a front row seat to making this magical place home for all of us while making our guests feel the wonder we all feel. I have sat across from staff, asked questions and sought a better understanding of what is possible. I have met with provincial and federal ministers, working on tough issues like improved access to local and regional transit, childcare, and healthcare. I’ve fought hard to improve access to and enforcement of affordable housing inventory. Sure, I haven’t always got it right in everyone’s mind, but I’ve always done what I thought was in the best interest of the whole community.
I believe that persistence, hard work and an open mind are critical to this process. It’s great to come into politics with passion projects and a burning desire to see things through. It’s important to remember that working together, not only with the rest of council, but with the whole community is the hope for a brighter future. I’ve been asked if my skin has toughened, and perhaps it has. But as long as you believe my heart and my conscience are in the right place, I will continue to work for this community.
Thank you for the honour of allowing me to serve these past four years and I ask for your support in October’s election.