It's truly time for change
Like the rest of us, I am worried about the scars the pandemic will leave behind. I have heard from residents that the scars are deep (I definitely have a few) and electing a council with dedication to healing those scars is imperative. This coming election is a way for Calgarians to move through the challenges that we currently face ~ and electing a council who can see these obstacles as opportunities for growth is imperative. We need a council who can face the reality of where we are, where we can go, and how we can get there.
TO ME IT'S ALL ABOUT HONEST, OPEN, AND
I have had a very successful career in Strategic Marketing & Communications.
I am a strong communicator who believes in the power of listening to people and gathering information from diverse sources before recommending a way forward that meets people’s needs while respecting economic realities. I am a curious investigator of human behavior. I love to question, observe, and analyze and then design ways forward to prove to people that they have been heard and understood.
~ I PROMISE TO LISTEN TO YOU AND ENSURE YOU KNOW
YOU’VE BEEN HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD ~
Calgary is at a critical time, and we need a council that will not hold us back from progressing in meaningful ways for ALL Calgarians. We’ve learned that piecemeal ideological ideas haven’t worked well, and we end up spending millions of dollars on projects that ultimately mean nothing to the average Calgary taxpayer. Often, many of these projects are approved without meaningful consultation with the key stakeholders and that is not acceptable. I believe that every stakeholder should have the opportunity to have a say in projects that will affect them.
~ I AM DEDICATED TO STRENGTHENING THE WAYS
IN WHICH COUNCIL WORKS FOR ALL CALGARIANS ~
As a member of city council, I will embrace the responsibility of influencing the future of Ward 9 and Calgary as a whole. This is an obligation I won’t take lightly, and I believe that Council needs to work collaboratively with Communities on how they grow and develop. In recent years, this has not happened in Ward 9, and I promise that I will work with you, as a team.
When I’m elected, my focus will be to return to the most important tenet of Government ~ the People. I won’t lose sight of that. My mission is to bring democracy back to City Hall where every Calgarian has the chance to be heard.
~ I BELIEVE THAT THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN
DEMOCRACY IS THE OFFICE OF THE CITIZENS.
THE ESSENCE OF THE DEMOCRATIC EXPERIENCE IS TO
FEEL THAT YOU’VE BEEN ENGAGED AND INVOLVED. ~
I intend to set up the Ward 9 office so that each community in Ward 9 will have its very own Community Advocate to contact when issues arise. Additionally, I will hold quarterly Ward 9 community roundtable meetings where community stakeholders can come together to share ideas so that our Ward 9 team can hear directly from you what the key issues are.
I live my life based on two fundamental beliefs: "take action" and "do the right thing” and intend to serve the residents and businesses of Ward 9, and all citizens of Calgary, ethically and with the highest level of respect and integrity.
I believe my role as your Councilor is to advocate on behalf of Ward 9 citizens on policies and decisions that affect your communities. I have a strong desire to work hard on your behalf.
Here are a few reasons why I’m the best choice to be your Ward 9 Councillor
I bring a very strong skill set that will set me up for success as your Ward 9 Councilor ~ listening, collaboration, transparency, openness, and honesty
I take my work seriously and I have the time, tenacity, and dedication to serve Ward 9
I do not have any alliances or affiliation with any political party, I FIRMLY believe that partisan politics should not be involved in the work of Council
I have the skillset that will allow me to work well with other levels of government ~ regardless of political affiliation
I have learned resilience by taking risks, recovering from failures,weathering disappointments, and because of these things, the victories have been worth it
I have the confidence to stand up for things that are important to you
When I think of Citizen Representation and being your Councilor, I want you to know these things.
In my career, the thing that I can do differently that most people cannot is that I can have empathy in even the hardest of circumstances.
The thing in my life that I’ve always been able to differentiate from others is that I can listen to someone’s story and pull out the most important facts quicker than anyone else. I have an innate interest in people, and I care deeply about making Calgary equitable for all.
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS
AN ENDEMIC WITHIN A PANDEMIC
Like the rest of us, I am very worried about the scars the pandemic will leave behind. I have heard from residents that the scars are deep (I definitely have a few) and electing a council with a firm dedication to healing those scars is imperative. This coming election is a way for Calgarians to move through the challenges that we currently face ~ and electing a council who can see these obstacles as opportunities for growth will be beneficial for us to face the reality of where we are, where we can go, and how we can get there.
From the very beginning of my campaign, I have stated that mental health and addictions is a key priority for the hard work I want to do as your Ward 9 Councillor. I believe that in order to have a healthy vibrant city, we must take care of all of our citizens. I believe that every single Calgarian should feel safe and that the right supports are available for the most vulnerable citizens. We have to remember that when we’re talking about vulnerable citizens who may fall under the category of Mental Health and Addictions, they may not all face the same challenges and pressures ~ they are residents with unique needs in different life circumstances.
The pandemic has exacerbated the use of opioids, alcohol, and other substance use. It is, what I call an endemic within a pandemic. Overdoses and alcohol-related deaths have increased during the pandemic. In the first seven months of the year, 720 Albertans have succumbed to overdoses while alcohol-related deaths have also increased. Experts in the field of addictions have stated the pandemic has added to substance use by heightened overall mental health pressures. In addition economic, social, and psychological impacts, plus increased isolation have definitely played a role in increased substance use. While the provincial government is injecting money into abstinence-based recovery, that does not help solve the immediate need of people dying from an overdose, whereas safe consumption sites would. I would advocate for a solution-based approach such as that which is currently being offered in BC. Overdose deaths are typically a result of a contaminated supply of street drugs. I think, therefore, that to help save lives now, we need users to have a safe supply before entering treatment. Although public health is under our provincial government, I would advocate ensuring that Calgarians have access to innovative new approaches such as a prescribed, safer supply, and a continuum of safe injection sites.
Some of the hot topic issues to be addressed in this election are the Downtown Strategy, Creating Investment, and Policing and I propose a holistic, first-things-first approach to all of these topics, helping citizens first.
While I see the need for a Downtown Strategy and attracting new investment into Calgary, I propose taking a first-things-first approach. When people think about Calgary’s downtown core ~ they think of empty office towers and unemployment and far too much social disorder involving homelessness, crime, and open drug use - mostly because there is a lack to social resources for mental health and addictions. While it may not seem like a direct action for the Downtown Strategy, my first action would be to work to get the vulnerable population in the core to access the help they need. I would advocate allocating a portion of the $200M Downtown Strategy to take care of our most vulnerable first. I would use a portion of the $200M investment so that we could house vulnerable Calgarians by partnering with organizations that can provide the type of shelter and social resources needed to provide citizens with the help they need. This idea ties closely to attracting investment to Calgary because most organizations/investors want to know that they’re investing in a city that takes care of its people.
With respect to policing, our vulnerable, and Calgarians who experience mental health and addictions challenges, I want to partner with the Calgary Police Service to improve the way in which we approach policing in our communities. The policing budget is approximately $400M and I propose allocating a flexible percentage (based on evolving societal needs) of that budget to support social agencies. We need to engage stakeholders, CPS, social organizations, and community leaders working in the area of mental health and addictions. I believe in building an outcome-drive-approach to assist our citizens experiencing mental health and addictions issues. We need to work to ensure that our citizens are accessing the ‘RIGHT’ services for the right situation, at the right time. I also believe by supporting and mobilizing the appropriate social services there will never be a need for over-policing while citizens are being underserved.
But first, in order for us to do that, we need a comprehensive review of the approach we’re currently taking so that not a single Calgarian is overlooked.
Here are a few of the ideas I have.
Look at the approach to funding ~ advocate other levels of Government to ensure that we’re getting the results we’re looking for
Work collaboratively with our provincial and federal governments to ensure investments made into our Mental Health and Addictions strategy are sustainable
Ensure that the remaining ±$9M in the Mental Health and Addiction funding is spent on tangible results (achieving positive outcomes for those in need, NOW)
Create standards to achieve an outcome-oriented approach
The current funding ends in 2023 ~ we need to continue to invest in our vulnerable population
Ensure that we’re bringing a wide range of social agencies and service providers together to achieve a collaborative approach to find the best solutions
Ensure that we are leveraging the collective strengths of our social agencies and incentivize productive partnerships to come together to find efficient and effective solutions
Ensure that all capital projects are available and accessible to all Calgarians, not just a select group of citizens.
IN ORDER FOR CALGARY TO BE PROSPEROUS AND VIBRANT ~
DESERVES ACCESS TO THE SERVICES THEY NEED.
WHEN THEY NEED THEM.
AND THE RIGHT TO HAVE A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD.
I BELIEVE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT.
MAKING SMART SPENDING DECISIONS
MAKING SMART SPENDING DECISIONS ~
YOUR TAX DOLLARS MATTER, A LOT
I firmly believe that a citizen in Calgary should not expect the bare minimum as a standard. Calgarians deserve a council that will strive every single day for a more bang-for-your-buck practice in spending your money. As your next Ward 9 Councillor, I want to ensure that core services are prioritized during budgeting – we need to be able to guarantee that you are getting the best value for your hard-earned money.
This won’t be an easy task with many minds at the table, but I can offer much stronger presence because of my business and communications experience. In order to recover from the pandemic in a way that won’t leave citizens more financially apprehensive, we need leaders who have been a part of effective budgeting practices and can extract added value from your money through smart spending (wait until you see my campaign expenditures).
I know that we need to brace for the future, and this means looking at a wide range of immediate and long-term growth and revenue strategies to attract investment to Calgary while enhancing supports for our small businesses and entrepreneurs in Calgary. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are what make Calgary an amazing city to live in. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we need to ensure that they are treated fairly, equitably, with an eye-to-their future as opposed to fixing a City spending problem.
I believe empowering businesses and driving economic development and recovery is where economic development really begins. By empowering businesses, we must create an environment in which they can flourish. When they succeed, we succeed; they create jobs, when there are more jobs, our citizens are better off, when they are better off, so are we, as a city. These businesses are really the jet engine of our economy.
The average Calgarian has had to reign in personal spending throughout, not only the pandemic but at the beginning of the oil crisis in 2008. In 2008 and beyond, City Council has not braced for the future. I will advocate for initiatives that assist citizens at this time and ensure that Calgary can grow into the future in a sustainable way.
Over the last 11 years spending at City Hall has increased exponentially, all while residential and business taxes have also increased. This is merely due to a lack of economic foresight by council on City revenues and reliance on one primary tax source.
CALGARY HAS PROVEN, OVER TIME, THAT WE HAVE AN
UP-AND-DOWN ECONOMY AND THAT IS BASED ON ONE INDUSTRY.
WE NEED A COUNCIL THAT LOOKS AT TAXES THROUGH A RESILIENCE LENS:
~ WHEN TIMES ARE UP AND INVESTMENT IN CALGARY IS ON
AN UPWARD TREND, WE NEED TO COLLECT AND SAVE AND INVEST WISELY
~ WHEN TIMES ARE DOWN, WE NEED TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES
AND CITIZENS WITHOUT DISRUPTING SERVICES, OR INCREASING TAXES.
As your Ward 9 Councillor, I promise to:
Approach budgets through a “priority-first” lens. Core services are a priority for citizens in Ward 9 and Calgary as a whole. This is especially true of road maintenance, snow removal, accessibility for all on our sidewalks, parks, and so much more
Ask tough questions when it comes to your money ~ I want to ensure that sound and non-ideological decisions are being made - businesses (small and large) in Calgary need to thrive. As your Ward 9 Councillor, I will advocate the City support my mission by creating partnerships rather than repeating administrative barriers and missteps
Evaluate budgets to find inefficient costs. Therefore, we can ensure that revenue surpluses go to the services our people need the most
Advocate for your best interests. I commit to working hard for you and the interests of Ward 9
Come to council not indebted to any PAC, TPA, special interest group (BRZ, BIA or Community Association). Therefore, the decisions I make will be based on our ‘collective’ approach
Be accountable to you. As your Councillor, I will encourage full accountability, transparency, and openness when it comes to votes that affect your tax dollars
Over the last number of years, planning in Calgary has become extremely politicized and Communities in Ward 9 are feeling left out of the process in terms of how they grow and transform. I promise to have open, honest, and transparent engagement with you so that you are a part of the planning process in your community. We need to work collaboratively with the development industry to ensure investment is made in programs and services that benefit you, no matter where you live in Ward 9, and improve your quality of life.
Complete and Healthy Communities are important to a vibrant city. We deserve a holistic approach to building communities and in doing so, we work toward a healthy, vibrant city.
As with my other priorities, I firmly believe in a first-things-first approach and have heard from Ward 9 residents on the issues that concern them and the top two were:
Supporting our unhoused population
Responsibility to ensure opportunities for all citizens, regardless of social background, to live in any neighborhood in Calgary, established or new.
We can no longer group unhoused Calgarians into a narrow category. There is a complexity of issues that extend beyond a lack of housing ~ we need to support our local agencies that support our vulnerable citizens across a variety of needs. I am passionately committed to ensuring that service agencies are equipped with the supports they need.
Our Established communities
Residents deserve respect.
All but one of the Ward 9 communities are established in which many residents have invested decades and decades of their lives to maintaining their properties while younger families are moving into renovated, or new infill homes. Residents in established communities care deeply about having a strong voice at City Hall to represent their communities with a balanced approach to renewal and development. It has become increasingly apparent that most of City Council has not represented the needs of the citizens in these communities. It is Council’s job to listen, protect stakeholders, and hold developers to full account for impacting existing homeowners.
I have spent most of my career in residential community development where our mandate was to work very hard on community consultation and collaboration, as the new stakeholder, to ensure win/win outcomes. We were often met with political interference but typically it was because they were advocating on behalf of the residents. This is no longer happening. Calgary City Council has adopted a “what’s-best-for-me” approach over the last number of years.
Encouraging the positive benefits of development can be done, and as your Councillor, I will ensure rules are in place and adhered to by developers in established neighborhoods.
A well-defined and relatable leadership philosophy is essential for any elected official. Therefore, as your Councillor this will guide my actions and advocacy on your behalf. I believe it is time for residents to be heard, not told. Residents deserve the respect of having a leader who looks them in the eye and tells them the truth. I commit to having proactive accessibility to the Ward 9 office because I believe it is core to the leadership Ward 9 deserves. Accessibility to your Ward 9 office is important because it is only through a connection with all citizens in Ward 9 that I can truly champion your needs.
As we move toward establishing our relationship, I want you to know that I’ve heard you and will work towards creating a better life for citizens in Ward 9. This means also looking at advancing better systems for:
Improving Core Services
Climate Change & Environment