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A Love Letter to my Volunteers

Dear Volunteers,

During National Volunteer Week, and in the weeks before and after it, you were giving of yourselves as part of this campaign. It hardly seems adequate to thank you by naming you here. I am so grateful for your support during this campaign.

Thank you to my core support team that organized, planned, executed, donated, hosted, coordinated, supported, translated, wrote, encouraged, coached, and communicated throughout the campaign. Having any one of you on my side would have been a coup d’état – I don’t know how I managed to get all 7 of you! I am eternally grateful to you:

Beth Christie
Susan Holt
Meghan MacAfee
Bridget Beswick
Nadya Ladouceur
Brit Mockler
Brenda Sansom
.
Thank you as well to those of you who made contributions in big, small, and multiple ways. Thank you for helping me with door-knocking, coaching, fundraising, managing donations, recruiting voters, building signs, putting up signs, putting up signs again, and again…and again…, offering moral support, compiling information about residents’ ideas and concerns, managing voting days, making phone calls, and being scrutineers.
.
Mom & Dad
Craig & Duncan Woodcock
Jon & Molly Holt
Judy & John Coates
Filip Vanicek
Tess Page
Maclean Boyd
Kaylee Reed
Rick Hutchins
Claudine Philippe
Gale MacDonald
Kerry & Colter McGrath
Rose & Grace Conoley
Martha & Freyja Paynter
Lucia & Rachel DeMaio
Janet Crawford
Anne-Marie Cornoyer
Paula Graham
Tim Ross
Alex LeBlanc
Shawn Dalton
Katie Skead
Moon Joyce
Erica Sullivan
Dana Hartt
Glenna Hanley
Lana MacGillivary
Matthew Hayes
Victoria Clowater
Beth Paynter
Deborah Stienstra
Paul Howe
JD LeJeune
Kitty & Peter Bourne
Christie Dennison & Marc Levesque
Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy
Marie Berubé
Andi Emrich
Alex Matheson
Guna Kulasegaram
Silke Klenk
Tom Beckley
Naushaba Khurshid
Pat Dickeson
Michael Holmes-Laudner
Katie Marti
Christa Mullaly
Gino LeBlanc
Andy Scott
Vince Escanlar
Shawn Dalton
Scott & Kristin Ross
Carrie McElroy
Lisa Merrithew
Tim Coates
Gordon & Brenda Murphy
Krista Walsh
Patrick Lacroix
Agnes Murphy
Don Dennison
Susan Smith
.
Finally, thank you to the 45 households that displayed my signs throughout the ward. I am grateful for your public display of support. Together, you have reminded me of many things: that our community is full of giving people; that democracy is alive; and that I am a fortunate woman to be surrounded by so much support. With this kind of energy, we are going forWARD!

Yours truly,

Leah 

More Mailboxes and Musings (#3)

May 9th, 2012 – Well, as luck would have it, one of my favourite mailboxes is still standing! It’s going to get cut down by the new owner (nice guy, so I’m not holding it against him) of a house on the hill. Fortunately I got a picture of it first! I found my other favourite (and maybe my overall favourite) mailbox this week just off Dundonald St. Received as a birthday present, this mailbox was lovingly carved and constructed for a mother by her son. The picture doesn’t do the detail justice. It’s truly a piece of craftsmanship.


Even better than finding more great mailboxes, I found more great people. I met new homeowners who are thinking more about the voice they want to have in local issues, and people who moved to Ward 10 specifically because they love the energy and character here – welcome!! I had lots of company again this week and last. Thanks to Janet Crawford, Tim Ross, Erica Sullivan, Moon Joyce, Brit Mockler, and Bridget Beswick for roaming the streets with me! 

I’ve also had some great meetings in the last few weeks as I’ve tried to learn more about issues that matter to voters. Scott MacAfee and I talked about community development broadly, and transportation specifically. Haley Flaro, ED of Ability NB and I had a great chat about increasing accessible transportation options for people with mobility challenges. This topic also came up during a lovely conversation I had with a group of women living at Risteen’s Landing. Over coffee and muffins, we talked about transportation, and about other issues affecting some seniors in our community, including access to basic services (e.g., groceries, medical appointments) and affordable entertainment options. 

A meeting with Kathy Edwards, Fredericton’s Well-field Protection Officer, was helpful for thinking about ways to move the debate forward on Fredericton’s political role in ensuring safe water and air. A meeting with the managing director of the Community Health Clinic, Joan Kingston, helped to uncover some opportunities for going forWARD on community health. Finally, discussions with the Fredericton and District Labour Council, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, and others uncovered many common values that we hold; namely for people to be able to make a decent living, and have a say in decisions that affect them, in the place we all share and call home.

Take care,

Leah 

Mailboxes and Musings #2

April 29th, 2012 – This week I found a mailbox that looked like a small trap door on the side of someone’s house! I also found this mailbox (pictured). “We got that for the girls”, said the woman at the door. Well, thank you girls for inspiring this fun and bright mailbox!

It has been a great couple of weeks on the campaign trail. I am constantly grateful for all of the help I’m receiving. We finished round 1 of door knocking, saving two upcoming coffee chats with the fine Ward 10 folks of Sunshine Terrace and Risteen’s Landing. Thanks to Doug for the gift of shea butter and black soap; my tired knuckles say thank you! We’re going forWARD with round 2. If I didn’t get a chance to meet you last time, I hope our paths will cross this time!

Thank you to everyone who has taken time from her or his schedule to talk with me at the door. Our conversations have been interesting and varied. This week, I heard more great ideas from residents about building better relationships between long-term residents, landlords, and tenants. We also had great conversations about the need for more varied public transportation options to meet our transportation needs, about urban chickens, and about energy efficiency. My favourite conversations were with four people who started the conversation by saying that they’ve never voted, and ended the conversation with a commitment to vote on May 14th!

Over 100 Ward 10 residents attended the all-candidates Town Hall on Apr. 25th. Taeyon Kim and Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy deserve big kudos for their hard work in making it happen. We had a rich and interesting discussion about economic development, mixed-use planning, and traffic calming. It was great to have so many interesting people in the room!     

Thank you to the fabulous volunteers who have been door knocking with me – rain or shine (thankfully, more shine) – over the past couple of weeks. Bridget Beswick, Ann Cournoyer, Tim Ross, Martha and Freyja Paynter (all the way from Halifax), Kerry and Colter McGrath, Brenda Sansom, Susan Holt, Janet Crawford, Alex LeBlanc, and Paula Graham have all been out on the sidewalks with me. Paula has logged a lot of hours, including one day immediately following a significant cut on her finger – what a trooper! Thank you Paula. I’ll miss you when you head off for your PhD adventure in St. John’s in the fall. 

Thank you as well to many other volunteers for their hard work. John Coates built 96 signs, and John, Claudine, Tess, Maclean, Craig, Rick, and Kaylee put them up. Nadya did my translation, and my tireless crew of core volunteers (Beth, Susan, Bridget, Brit, Brenda & Meghan) just keep on going… (they’re going to turn pink, grow bunny ears, and start carrying drums soon).

It is a grand privilege to be able to learn more about our community through this process, and I am very grateful for your engagement! We are going forWARD!!!

Leah

Door knocking doesn’t wait!

April 28th, 2012 – Here’s a little shot of me, finishing my first pass of our Ward.  Back to the beginning to try and meet the neighbours who weren’t home the first time.  Rain or shine!

Leah

Mailboxes and Musings #1

April 14th, 2012 – Week 1 of door knocking is winding down and what a week it’s been. I decided to start a small contest for the houses with the best mailboxes. There is no prize. Just eternal fame for having your mailbox referenced in my blog! There’s a beautiful one on Riverdale Court in Sunshine Gardens, and one that looks like a movie drop slot on Aberdeen Street. I put my brochure in it; I hope it wasn’t actually for movies. 

I’ve been struggling a bit at houses where no one is home, and where there is a ‘no flyers please’ sticker. I have one too, so I understand not wanting flyers. However, I also imagine that if you care about environmental protection, you also care about democracy, and therefore about the importance I place on Healthy Neighbourhoods. So, most of the time, I leave you my brochure. If you really didn’t want it, I’m sorry.

One of my favourite conversations was with a woman who spoke passionately about the need for more support for people who are struggling to make ends meet everyday. “Some people go without basic things they need every day, and there’s no need for that here”, she said. I agree with her. There are many layers of people, organizations, and governments involved in creating communities where everyone has a safe home and access to basic services. One of my Affordable Living commitments is to advocate for a Housing First strategy in Fredericton. It’s been clear on doorsteps that many Ward 10 residents support this idea.

My other favourite conversation was with a 9 year old who had a cavity-free visit to the dentist earlier in the day (hooray!) and then got to go back to school and straight into gym class. How much better can life get? He spoke highly of his school (Connaught St.) and said it was a good place to be, so this is a shout out to the teachers, families, and other students who make our neighbourhood school a good one – thank you. 

Finally, I want to thank all of the people who helped me on the trail this week. My youngest campaign assistants were 7-week old Grace Con0ley, and 10-week old Molly Holt. Rose and Susan, thank you too! Other folks who have been out to help include 3-year old Colter McGrath, Kerry McGrath, Paula Graham, Shawn Dalton, Judy Coates, Katie Skead, Alex LeBlanc, and Nadya Ladouceur. Beth Christie has been behind the scenes scheduling all of the volunteers, and lots of other folks are helping with many other parts of the campaign. I am a fortunate woman.

Ward 10 residents, it’s been a pleasure to meet so many of you this week. For everyone who’s door I have not yet reached, I’m on my way!

Take care,

Leah 

.

9 Reasons I Choose Fredericton as Home

April 6th, 2012 – For the record, there are many more than 9 reasons I choose Fredericton as home, but you don’t want to be here reading forever when you could be outside riding your bike! 

  1. The people. As just one example, last week I was really sick for a couple of days. Four different people brought me things – soup, energy drinks, etc. – to help me feel better. Moments like this remind me of how fortunate we are to live surrounded by kind and thoughtful people, and how important it is to be in a place where looking out for one another is ‘just what you do’.
  2. The river. Our proximity to the river reminds me of the power of water, the fun of water-based recreation, and the importance of clean and public water for all.  
  3. The ski trails. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we have some of the best classic and skate skiing trails in the province; all maintained by volunteers! Amazing. It makes all the hassles of winter worth it, and reminds me of the important role the volunteerism plays in making our neighbourhoods better places to live.
  4. The colour. Look at all the green space. My friends from away are so envious of Odell Park and the Green. But green’s not the only colour I love. My hometown suffers from ‘three shades of beige’ syndrome in its housing stock. Check out the orange house in Ward 10 on the corner of York and Saunders and that just about sums it up!
  5. The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. It almost seems lazy to include HJBF on the list because it’s so obvious, but whatever. It’s awesome.
  6. The growing emphasis on local food. Thanks to the hard work of a lot of farmers, organizations, businesses, and people, we are getting better and better access to fresh, local, sustainable agriculture.
  7. The 1.5 degrees of separation. Move over Kevin Bacon and your 6 degrees of separation. If I don’t know her, I know someone who does!
  8. The size. To get a balance of small town feel with small city amenities is a rare treasure. We have some great film series’ and festivals, an awesome arts community, an active intellectual scene, great coffee, great local beer, and so on!
  9. The possibility. I don’t quote myself very often (unless it’s to make fun of something I said), but last year I made a comment in an article in the Telegraph Journal about New Brunswick being small enough to ‘get it right’. Well, I really, really believe that about Fredericton. We have the potential to provide leadership in urban vitality, community partnerships, and many other important areas, and to do so in a way that engages many of Fredericton’s residents.

Leah

Where do I vote?

April 4th, 2012 – On doorsteps today I was asked the same 2 questions frequently – when is the election? & where do I vote?  So I’ve added a page to my website detailing the 2 advance voting days and times, as well as the big day – May 14th – for which I have a neat little countdown calendar at the bottom of this site.  There are also links to a map of the polling station location, and a tool to find your poll if you’re not in Ward 10.  The more people we get out to vote, the better!  Check it out here.

Leah

My first day of door to door campaigning

April 2nd, 2012 – What a neat experience to knock on doors around the neighbourhood! First thought: faith in humanity re-affirmed! People are generally warm and engaging. Second thought: how many apartments can they get in that place?! I didn’t realize how many apartments were nestled into some of the houses around my home. Third thought: is is possible we could go a whole door-knocking 5 weeks without rain? It was beautiful out today; bow to the sun gods for more of that action!

Leah

2 Responses to “Blog”

  1. Meghan April 4, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Love that you’re out on the streets meeting people, Leah!

    • leahlevac April 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Thanks Meghan – it’s even more fun than I expected!

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