Deciding Not to Run Again

This post shares news that I will not be running in this year's municipal election. The comments below were part of an announcement at the Council meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake on April 28.

It has been an absolute honour and privilege to represent the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake as your Municipal Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor. I will leave this role with a very deep sense of gratitude to the thousands of people who put their trust in me to speak up for them, for their businesses and properties and families, for their fears and hopes for the future of NOTL.

I will also finish this term feeling most proud of my contributions to the Draft Official Plan for Niagara-on-the-Lake; supporting the Community Centre expansion for the Niagara Nursery School from its very beginning; advocating for our local history and heritage; pushing for a strategic, positive and refreshed leadership culture in the Town's administration, and seeing the launch very soon of a completely new website to showcase and serve this amazing community.

Of course there have been disappointments along the way, some of them incredibly bitter and frustrating, but such is life. Nobody runs for Council because it's going to be easy. In this chamber we are each one of nine voices that are all intended to equally matter, and I appreciate that we have been a Council who did not always have to agree, and mostly worked very well together.

A lot can happen in four years. Niagara-on-the-Lake's population is now more than 19,000 people. The Niagara Nursery school's wait list continues to grow. This is an incredibly desirable place to live, and Niagara-on-the-Lake is growing. That means Niagara-on-the-Lake is a living, breathing and real community, and that should be a fact to embrace and work with, rather than to fear.

Change is hard, inevitable and healthy.

My decision not to run for re-election will hopefully make space for someone new to contribute their time and energy to the quality of life in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Politics isn't a game, it's a calling, and politics shouldn't be assumed as a career. Politics is about being in the service of people, all people; and the decisions made in this chamber need to be focused on what is good for the total community, not for any one person, a carefully counted voting block, or a very vocal and privileged few. Anyone who cares enough and is determined enough has what it takes to do this work, and no-one was perpetually written in the stars to run this place forever.

So to anyone who has ever read an article about municipal council and gotten mad, or passed a capital project and wondered why it's being done, or wanted to be a decision-maker in this community, or even had the slightest inkling that they could probably do great things from this chamber, now is your opportunity: run. There is no perfect time to hold public office, yet it is such an important service. It requires commitment, not eternity. Run, build your team, and bring your new ideas. Run, share your visions for what NOTL can be, and stick to those visions. Find your voice and use it. The Town needs people like you.


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