Yesterday, several hundred brave souls filed their nomination papers to run for positions on local councils and school boards. The decision to run for office is certainly not an easy one and all of the candidates deserve to be commended on their dedication to making their communities better.
Over the next few weeks, we can expect to see an abundance of campaign signs popping up throughout our neighbourhoods. We can expect to see new websites launched, platforms revealed and communities coming together for election forums and discussions. With a little bit of luck, we will start learning more about what each of the candidates stand for and what ideas they will bring to the table should they be elected.
In Edmonton, the City Centre Airport discussion has garnered a considerable amount of media attention, but it is certainly not the only issue that will impact the shape of our community in the years to come. Decisions around affordable housing, poverty reduction and the looming possibility of school closures will all have a considerable impact on the future of our neighbourhoods and the people that live in them.
One of the major benefits of campaign season is that it seems to be the best opportunity to engage with your elected officials and those hoping to be elected on October 18th. It’s your chance to let them know what you care about and to find out what they know about the issues and what priorities they would bring to the table if elected.
So, when a candidate knocks on your door, I encourage you to ask them about their vision for affordable housing in your community. Ask them for their ideas on how to build stronger neighbourhoods. Find out if they have a vision for making the community great for ALL residents. Ask them about the issues that matter most to you.
My point here isn’t to raise the importance of any one issue over another. Rather, it is to say that there are a range of issues that will play a role in shaping each of our communities and to encourage you to get involved in the discussion. Take some time to think about the kind of future that you would like for your community. Then let your candidates know.
Our communities are at their best when there are opportunities for diverse resident voices to be heard. Now is that time. Don’t let that opportunity pass you by.
(NOTE: If you're looking for some good election-related content, check out a few of the links below.)