Tag Archives: politics

Why Vote for Me?

12 May

Dear Ward 10, 

I just returned home from our ice cream social in Wilmot Park. We had a great turnout of about 100 people despite the looming clouds and rain. For me, it was a great chance to meet new neighbours, visit with friends, and say thank you to some of the people who have worked so hard over the last six weeks to make this journey possible. On this journey, I have learned, discussed, and been challenged. I have grown increasingly committed to you, and to the responsibilities associated with being a city councillor.

During this journey, some people have asked me why I decided to run for council, and why I am the best candidate for the job. I wouldn’t have run if I didn’t think I was the best candidate for the job. But I know, that’s like saying “just trust me”. So, this afternoon, while reflecting on the campaign, and on the answers I’ve offered to these questions along the way, here are some of my thoughts on why I will make a great councillor:

Most importantly, I will represent you with the same integrity, hard work, and compassion that I demonstrate in my everyday life. I think that everyone who knows me will validate this assertion if asked. My life has been graced by privilege. I grew up in a loving home, where I was surrounded by a world of possibility. My family was always supportive and encouraging, even when my ambitions seemed outrageous. With this kind of privilege comes great responsibility. I take this responsibility very seriously. I cannot say whether or not this makes me unique from the other candidates, but I can assure you that I will approach the task of councillor with the same amount of commitment that I dedicate to all spheres of my life. 

I can bring people together to work towards a common cause. A good example of this is the team of 70 volunteers that came together to make this campaign possible. I am humbled by their diversity, their experiences, their dedication to the task at hand, and their conviction in my capabilities. 

Because of my professional and volunteer work, I am uniquely positioned to help bring residents, as well as different levels of government, different professional sectors, and different ideological positions together to work on complex challenges. I am a community-based researcher who works on public engagement in decision-making, and on diverse women’s leadership. I also bring people together to create new initiatives, and work as a facilitator, both professionally and as a volunteer. Another important part of my life is that I am a dedicated athlete. Through these pursuits, I have become more determined and focused, and a strong networker, skilled facilitator, and capable relationship builder.

Actions speak louder than words, which is why I modeled my platform commitments throughout the campaign (and which is also why it feels a bit funny to be writing this down…). I hosted community conversations, met with school children to discuss their role in community planning, and met with residents who wanted to talk about particular issues/ideas. I met with city staff and current councillors to learn more about their roles, and with community organizations to talk about current and future partnerships. I gathered and shared information on bikeability, public transportation, and other topics of interest to residents.    

I understand that diversity is an asset, and that representative democracy depends on new tools and guiding principles for how elected officials engage with citizens. I study and implement some of these tools and models in my research, and am committed to spending (at least) the next four years trying to bring these tools and principles to bear on the decision-making processes we use in Fredericton. Last but not least, I know that young women benefit from having intelligent and interesting female political role models, and I am honoured by the possibility of being one such role model.

Thank you for being part of this journey with me.

Leah

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