Candidate for Russell Township Councillor
34 years old
1. What prompted your decision to run for council this time?
I would like to be involved in our community as a councillor because our township is a great place to live and the next few years will not only be exciting, but also incredibly important for our community. As a teacher of 10 years, and president of a non-for-profit organization for 7 years, I want to leverage my professional and volunteer experience by bringing a unique perspective to Council. I haven’t always seen myself or my ideas represented on our council and as a result, I decided to get involved.
2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?
My key strength that I would bring to the job is my ability to build relationships. If elected, I would use this ability to affect positive change within the community. As an educator, I have learned that teaching is about building relationships with my students, their parents, and my colleagues. I do so by: communicating effectively in both French and English, being accessible and approachable, following through on my word, listening to others, and being transparent. My desire to fully understand issues, my work ethic, organizational skills, and dedication makes me a good problem solver.
3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?
I believe that the top issue our Township is facing is the responsible management of the rapid growth of our Township. I believe a long-term focus and approach is needed in order to carefully and dutifully manage our township’s growth, while balancing the needs of our current residents with those of our future ones. As a result of this issue, residents have shared with me their concerns with high volumes of traffic, the paving and maintenance of roads, and connecting households to water and sewers.
4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?
I would like our future generations to inherit a municipality that is prosperous, innovative, and focused on fiscal responsibility and sustainability. For the most part, I believe that we are responsible fiscally, but I would like to change our approach to sustainability. Our municipality would benefit from property owners and developers having access to more incentives to plant more trees. I would like the municipality to renegotiate, or look at using a different recycling facility, in order to expand the items we can recycle rather than decrease it. From going door-to-door, it has become clear that certain regions in our municipality feel forgotten therefore I would like to work on unifying our municipality. Last but certainly not least, I would like the Township to provide more recreational opportunities for residents of all ages and physical abilities.
5. How is your message being received during this campaign?
I have been very encouraged and touched by the warm welcome I have felt from Russell Township residents when I knock on their doors. I have received positive feedback on my message, and I am grateful to the residents who have shared with me what they like about living here, their ideas to improve our township, and their concerns.
6. Voting begins on Oct. 17 — ironically the day of marijuana legalization. The new council will have to decide soon if your municipality will permit storefront cannabis sales, or opt out altogether. Should your municipality allow pot shops or ‘just say no’?
By the end of January 2019, the new council will have to decide whether Russell Township should opt-in or out of having marijuana storefronts. If elected, I would need to weigh the pros and cons of having storefronts in our municipality carefully. Although I am currently leaning towards allowing storefronts, I do want to wait until we have a better idea of the consequences of this decision and I would want to consult with the residents before making my decision. If we do not have a storefront in Russell, residents will be purchasing marijuana online or through the black market. Having a storefront would allow our citizens to purchase pot safely, locally and legally. It would also allow the Township to collect commercial taxes. A marijuana facility is currently being built in our township and having storefronts near this facility could allow for sharing of infrastructure and reduced costs. This model of circular economy improves business performance by building local relationships between commerce and industry. If we could find a way to cluster and attract businesses, like marijuana production and storefronts, to create a symbiotic relationship where one person’s waste, product, or byproduct is another’s resource then our businesses could become more competitive and sustainable.
Although this is beyond the scope of our municipality, I am concerned with cannabis use where smokers can use tobacco and impaired driving.