Public service matters.
Whether joining a school council, volunteering with a community league, helping out a neighbour or running for public office, I have always believed that taking some kind of action to make your community a better place to live is always worth the effort. The positive changes that result from any kind of public service are always rewarding.
The past two years have shown us the kind of difference we can make when we collectively work together. Think about public vaccination in response to COVID-19 and the difference it has made to living our lives with fewer public health restrictions. Think about some of the amazing ways in which school communities have supported families with food and other supports. Think about the ways organizations in our cities have stepped up to support those who needed affordable internet and technology for online learning. All of these things happened because someone cared about the people in their community and decided to do something about it — even if it was just enough to help one other person.
Such people inspire me.They are the reason that I decided to run for public office in the first place, back in 2017. I ran then and I am running now because I want to make a positive difference in the lives of Edmonton families. I do this work through effective advocacy for access to a strong, publicly-funded education system.
I am often asked why I left my career as a CBC journalist to run for public school board Trustee. There are two main reasons. First, some people who live in my community (Ward D) asked me to put my name forward to represent our community’s interests. So I did. Second, I had some political opinions and a desire to serve that I could not express properly through my work as a journalist. I had thoughts and ideas about the importance of schools in our communities and how best to manage them. I have never been a member of any political party, and I am a big fan of Trustees being as non-partisan as possible, but I do think people elected to office ought to be able to express their thoughts and take action on issues and matters they are hearing about from their constituents.
Trusteeship is grassroots politics. It is as close to the people as a politician can get. The number of phone calls I’ve made, the in-person chats that have happened, the countless meetings with students and parents and families that I’ve had the privilege to attend over the last four years… I’m grateful for all of it. It has been my honour to represent their voices as a Ward D Trustee and, for the last two years as Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board, and to advocate for public education.
The people I serve have taught me so much about how to truly listen, how to be a strong but fair advocate, and how to say no, respectfully but firmly, when the focus and priorities of a discussion start to stray away from what’s best for kids.
Thanks for trusting me to be your voice for public education. I hope to earn your vote again on October 18.