Candidate for Russell Township Councillor
21 years old
1. What prompted your decision to run for trustee this time?
The first is to ensure that all residents are well represented at the council table because most people don’t have the time to be fully involved in municipal politics even though they care about municipal issues. They deserve a voice the table – someone who is fully committed to speaking out on their behalf. The second reason is the potential this community has. I see it each day in the residents of the Township of Russell – but maximizing that potential is going to take the right council. With the right people at the council table, we can improve the quality of life for all residents, together.
2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?
My strengths are my youth, my experience, my passion and my ability to communicate with everyday people from all walks of life about the issues that matter to them. I’m younger than your typical candidate and that forces me to think about things going on in Russell today with the future in mind. I see things differently and I’m open to change and new ideas from Russell residents about how to help our community move forward. I have a passion for politics because I have a passion for public service: I’ve been involved in all 3 levels of government for almost a decade and this experience has given me an understanding of the functions of government but more importantly its spirit: to make communities like the Township of Russell, better by leveraging the ideas and effort of everyone to achieve a common goal. As someone who is fully bilingual, I understand that communication is a necessity, not only for representing people but also to be able to discuss issues and solutions with the whole community.
3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?
I’ve knocked on over 1600 houses (so far) and the top 3 issues residents want council to resolve are: building a sports complex with a pool; improved infrastructure; and access to more services and businesses. Families are tired of driving all the way to the city to use an indoor pool or to go shopping, especially when most people already need to commute to Ottawa and back for work. These issues can all be resolve but that’s going to take a council that listens to residents and acts on their concerns.
4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?
Our Township is the third best place to live in Canada but there’s always room for improvement. I believe a new voice and new ideas combined with the best of what our community already has to offer are what our Township needs in 2019 and beyond. I want to leverage the old and the new to help create an environment where existing businesses can grow and new businesses want to settle because our community offers a unique quality of life and their employees won’t find it anywhere else. I want the added revenue that will come with development to stay in our community. By reinvesting resources back in to Russell people can be confident that individual success can improve the lives of all residents. All of this can be achieved if we work towards our goals as a community. That’s something I want to be a part of.
5. How is your message being received during this campaign?
My message has been well received since I began my campaign. What has surprised me the most is how surprised people are to have someone like me knocking on their door asking them what their priorities are, what improvements they think our Township needs, as well their vision for the kind of community they would like to live in 10, 15 or 25 years from now. They’re happy that young people like me are getting engaged in local politics and they have encouraged me to continue. It is interesting to see the reaction at the doors when I ask residents these sorts of questions – rather than simply assuming I know what they need.
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’?
As for storefront cannabis sales, before making a decision I want to more research on the long-term effects it will have on our community and the people living in it. There are still many questions that need to be answered at the Provincial level and I would only consider opting-in if there are strict enough standards in place to convince myself and others in our community that it won’t wind up in the hands of minors.