2021 is an unprecedented year. It will be a year full of uncertainty. Suddenly, “pandemic”, “systemic racism”, “public health”, “social inequity”, and “flatten the curve” have all become common household terms. But some of these challenges are long-standing issues that have only recently been brought into the spotlight. It will require rapid adaptation for communities to thrive as we address these issues and transition into whatever our ‘new normal’ looks like. Creative, empathetic, and supportive leadership is needed to ensure our city works better for everyone.
I first ran for Edmonton City Council to represent Ward 11 (South East Edmonton) in 2017 because I believed that I could help build a better bridge between community voices and City Hall. I felt strongly that having our voices represented at the highest level of municipal government mattered, and that our leaders needed to reflect the changing demographic of our city.
Today, my convictions have only gotten stronger. In fact, I have committed my entire career to city-building. I have seen what cities can do when communities and city staff roll up their sleeves together to tackle thorny local issues; what the private sector can do when entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers form relationships and even friendships; and what individual Edmontonians can do when they march to city hall and the legislature. Above all, I have seen what is possible when sectors come together. As a city, we are the most agile and adept form of government. There are so many possibilities for us to build our future together.
But many of us are worried about our ability to come together.
“Right now it’s hard to think about the civic election issues because there is such a divide with everything.” -Robin, Michael’s Park
I’ve been reflecting on this too. The continued polarization of our politics is troubling and I am alarmed by how division prevents us from building the strongest communities possible in Edmonton. Mistrust of institutions has risen worldwide because people have repeatedly been disappointed by their governments. In the face of all the challenges that our city and world are facing, I believe that it will be communities and the everyday people that bring them to life who will keep providing amazing and innovative solutions. By investing time, resources, and energy in the places we live, learn, work, and play, we can strengthen our democracy and rebuild trust in our institutions.
In the grand scheme of these global challenges, a city councillor’s role may seem small, but by building bridges and facilitating conversations with everyone in our communities—from residents and businesses to not-for-profit organizations, and local government—I believe we can accomplish anything.
I am running to be your city councillor for Ward Karhiio because I want to drive even greater change.
I want to catalyze these conversations so that my children and their children will choose to live in and contribute to the neighbourhoods that we build today, together.
I look forward to meeting you in the community and having conversations about what is important to you. In the meantime, please reach out!