Fusion AV is a non-profit organization that’s mission to engage with young professionals in the Annapolis Valley. We aim to give them opportunities to connect and build their personal and professional network to ensure the long term success of this great place we all call home. Recently Fusion asked municipal councillors a series of question with respect to there demographic and municipal politics. My responses follows:
What advice do you have for young professionals what are interested in getting involved in municipal politics?
Our young professional bring a knowledge and vitality of the rapidly changing world and the needs and concerns of the new generations. We need their input in order to have effective vision, programs and policies to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the current and future generations. Young professionals need to recognize that they have the capacity to have a vital say in the directions of our governments and must have the boldness to get engaged. Their input should mesh well with the wisdom of the older politicians. Our citizens are ready and waiting for your fresh visionary leadership.
What personal value do you receive from being involved in municipal politics?
Being involved gives one the satisfaction of standing up for the people you serve and defending the cause of democracy. It is a “servant” responsibility that has huge satisfaction when you can make a difference in the lives of your constituents and your community. It is an humbling experience when people place there faith in you with their vote and your desire becomes one of helping them build a better future as their representative and never letting them down.
What do you wish you had been told when you started in municipal politics?
“That Rome wasn’t built in a day”. “That Democracy is hard work.” My campaign platform in 2012 was about change because that is what I heard from the people. But our style of politics takes a lot of hard work and time to change. It often takes more than one term of government. We have been successful in changing from a warden system to a mayor system where the voters will elect a leader and we will have reduced the size of our Council. That is a start. We need to continue to change systemic outdated practices into the next Council.
What impact does municipal politics have that most people don’t think about?
We automatically think about water and sewer and sidewalks but we likely do not think enough about the economic impact that a municipal Government can have. Its policies can be encumbrances to economic development and make it difficult and/or very expensive to conduct business and even drive businesses away. On the other hand its policies can be enablers to economic development. Businesses want efficiency, timeliness, understandability, fairness and transparency of business rules. Municipalities can also be effective lobbyists to other levels of government and even directly to business to invite them in.
In your opinion, why should young professionals want to get involved in municipal politics?
Because you are best position to represent the concerns and interest of the younger demographic and without those views, our policies and programs will miss the target. Because you bring a level of knowledge and comprehension that no one else can bring. Because we need balanced perspectives around the government table…young and old. Because you have a responsibility for your demographic and community. Because you are a vital part of our democracy.