Municipal elections in Waterloo Region will be held on October 27. With half a year to go until ballots are cast, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo has reached out to every mayoral candidate in the region who has officially filed to run.
Each candidate has answered the same five questions, and their replies will be reproduced. Today we speak to Dan Glenn-Graham, one of two candidates registered to run for mayor of Kitchener.
1. What's the most important issue in your city for the next council term?
The most important issue for Kitchener’s next council term is how to create a greater city by tapping into our greatest asset, our people. Using citizen feedback from Compass Kitchener and the upcoming Your Kitchener, Your Say series will give council a roadmap on what the people of Kitchener want from their council. These tools will help Kitchener council deliver the right government for the right price.
2. Voter turnout is notoriously low, especially in municipal politics. How will you engage voters?
Voter engagement should not be just be undertaken every four years for citizens to take it seriously. We need to demonstrate our accessibility to everyone all year round through multiple channels. As mayor, I intend to continue to chat with folks at the Kitchener Market on Saturdays, as I have through the past four years. I would go to each community centre to listen to neighbourhood concerns. We know citizens are engaged when they feel they are a part of their city. I would initiate an online discussion forum. One idea is to develop a Mayor’s Mailbox where citizens can provide ongoing feedback.
3. What would you say is your biggest weakness?
I am working hard on expanding my knowledge of the city as a whole. I have been a successful ward councillor in my downtown Ward 10, and I want to take that experience to the rest of the city.
4. Who is your political role model, and why?
Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran, whose natural and engaging speaking and leadership style, is a political role model I strive to emulate. I think highly of her ability to engage all citizens of Waterloo. One example is her decision to create a junior Mayor for a Day for her State of the City event. If I could mention one other person who I’ve admired and who has influenced my political career is former Kitchener Councillor Karen Taylor-Harrison. I have long admired her roll-up-her-sleeves attitude and frank and open approach to deal with community challenges, as well as to celebrate neighbourhoods and their strengths.
5. 40 years from now, how do you picture your municipality?
Kitchener would be a model for successful innovation in all sectors – technology, manufacturing, arts, lifestyle and community engagement – in 40 years. We would be best known for the involvement of our citizens in creating a welcoming city.