For starters, let me make it clear I have the utmost admiration and respect for anyone who registers to run for political office.
Having done it myself, I know the time and effort most of you are putting out there. It’s not easy. Hats off to all of you.
And believe me, before I ran myself, I didn’t have an appreciation for what it takes to be a candidate. Knocking on doors and receiving blank stares from people who didn’t know there was an election and have never heard of you can be challenging!
But the opportunity to meet new people, to discuss the issues they care about – and those they don’t – yes – priceless.
I will never regret running, it was an amazing experience, though admittedly losing was harder than I anticipated.
That being said, some candidates – in my mind – are taking on incumbents that are serving their constituents well. And while debate is always good, simply put, from where I write – several deserve re-election for the way they’ve served their ward. This of course isn’t true for all incumbents. But more on that later.
A broken wrist has prevented me from getting to any of the all-candidates debates. But I’ve researched all of the candidates, watched anything related to the all-candidate debates, read their election material and media content. When judging incumbents, I take into consideration how they represent their ward, their city and how effective they are at council,
But please, don’t take my word for any of this, educate yourself and if you read me at all, just either ignore me or consider me as another research tool you may want to consider.
It’s your vote, not mine.
So to be clear, these first two endorsements are for two incumbents who I believe both deserve to be re-elected.
For starters, there’s Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney – a dedicated constituent worker who practices what she preaches. When I phoned her recently for a story I was working on, she was campaigning on a scooter! She doesn’t just represent her ward, she’s a part of it. One of her most admirable traits – and this will be a common theme in my endorsements – is her willingness to take on Mayor Jim Watson. That puts her in a very selective – and very admirable – group on council. When you spar with Watson, you do so at your own risk.
McKenney appears to simply do what she believes is right. She really does practice what she preaches. Many of her council colleagues seem far too willing to bow to his behind-the-scenes demands – believing if they don’t do the mayor’s bidding – their wards will lose out. McKenney doesn’t let him ride rough shod over her. She represents her ward. Plain and simple.
If I were making my vote in Somerset ward, despite our sometimes political differences, I wouldn’t hesitate to cast my ballot for McKenney, a mother, a wife and a strong leader on council. Somerset residents are lucky to have her.
Many of the same accolades can be given to Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, who represents one of the most difficult wards in the city. The neighbourhoods are diverse – often placing conflicting demands on their councillor. Just ask former city councillor Katherine Hobbs who had difficulty juggling the varying interests of the ward. A strong believer in public transit, Leiper is also a big proponent of increasing bike safety – and yes – he is a four-season cycler. No surprise there.
Leiper is facing longtime activist Daniel Stinger. I have a lot of time for Stringer. He’s the real deal. But it’s near impossible to take on an incumbent who’s doing a great job. And Leiper is.
When Leiper heard changes to bus routes were negatively hurting Barrhaven residents, he went out to a Barrhaven public meeting to hear their concerns first-hand. Very impressive. And that’s how he operates. (Editors Note: This blog originally wrote Leiper took the bus to Barrhaven. Leiper says he in fact drove to the meeting.) A strong ward rep with a vision for the city. Definitely mayoral material.
Leiper keeps his residents happy. He’s one of them.