Many people have asked me why I am choosing to run for office, and why I’d want to be a councillor. It’s an important question – not all candidates are running for the same reasons or view the role the same way. I am not looking to be a career politician; rather I see this role as a natural progression from my past volunteer and professional work. Community involvement is something I value deeply, and it is important to me that I continue to play a positive role in strengthening our city and neighbourhoods.
Here are some of my main motivations to run for office (although as you know many catalysts and life experiences go into these types of decisions):
1) Family – I have two young children and I want to have an active role in shaping the future of their city, while showing them the importance of being actively involved in their community. They are the reason I first got involved with my local community association when I was living in Southwood. They were both under five then and I was wishing our area had more family programming and activities. I realized I had two options, sit around wishing someone would make that happen for me or get involved and help create fun community activities for my family to enjoy.
I appreciate this role will have an effect on my family and as such it is something I have thought about extensively. I have worked in a councillor’s office and understand the demands on their time. In my current role with the City, with the Calgary Neighbourhoods division, in addition to regular business hours, I also provided evening and weekend support for community events and meetings. And of course, owning a small business (café) requires a lot of effort to balance work with family. I am no stranger to hard work and unconventional working hours.
It’s never easy – but I will work hard to continue to balance family life with professional life – I think it is an important example to set for my boys and to include them wherever possible in the work that I do.
2) Positive conversations – There has been a lot of negativity in politics and the media over the last year and I don’t think it has to be that way. We are better than that. I want to encourage and facilitate positive conversations that produce meaningful results. We have a great city – people I speak with are generally happy living here. That said, I do think there are always improvements that can be made to make Calgary better. We need to challenge the status quo in a way that is innovative, involving a collaborative approach. We need to work together and communicate with one another in a positive, meaningful way to produce outcomes that benefits us all as a whole – businesses, communities, residents.
3) Desire to build strong communities – As Councillor, I would be in a position where I would have the most direct impact on people’s everyday lives than any other position in public office. This means I could affect and influence many opportunities to strengthen the community as a whole. I would be able to connect people, organizations, businesses, community groups to each other so they can share their strengths and their knowledge. I want to be a part of building community relationships, whether it is a block party event in Lakeview, a grassroots planning initiative in Haysboro, a not-for-profit organization like the SW Community Resource Centre, programs to help small businesses thrive etc. As a Councillor I would have many touch points in people’s lives and have the ability to encourage and facilitate making our communities even stronger. This is something I am passionate about.
It isn’t about the title, or the wage for me. It’s about what I see as taking the next step in community building, leveraging the professional and volunteer experience I have and bringing a new perspective to the table.