Erika Traub

Erika Traub is one of four candidates registered to run for mayor of Waterloo. (Courtesy Erika Traub)

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 Erika Traub, one of four candidates registered to run for mayor of Waterloo.

1. What's the most important issue in your city for the next council term?

Generally, the most important issue facing Waterloo is sustainable growth. Cities worldwide are being challenged to find ways to adapt to the requirements of an increasingly global economy.

For Waterloo to flourish it must find ways to continually reinvent itself to attract talent and investment dollars. Stagnation spells eventual decline. Waterloo cannot stand still. We must move forward. Growth is about hope and opportunity.

The specific issue facing Waterloo is the construction and integration of our massive investment into light rail transit. We must put discussion about yes or no to the LRT behind us and focus our full attention and efforts on how we are going to proceed with a project that will disrupt the flow of goods and services, cars and people along a wide affected corridor.

Globally, communities that provide integrated rail transportation (long, medium and short distances) tend to attract talent and investment dollars. Waterloo has great potential to meet this need.

2. Voter turnout is notoriously low, especially in municipal politics. How will you engage voters?

My campaign is forward-looking. Young people tend to not vote, but this municipal election is about them. It's about the future, about possibility, about actualizing Waterloo’s full potential by changing the way in which the city develops.

To the young people: Do not leave the future of your city to voters who may not be as interested in the investment necessary for prosperity and sustainable growth in the future. Unemployment is an issue facing today’s youth. Young people must use their voice and vote. Now more than ever.

3. What would you say is your biggest weakness?

My biggest weakness is my inexperience in municipal council. There will be a learning curve for me. However, a fresh council, a fresh mayor, with new ideas, is often a good thing.

4. Who is your political role model, and why?

I tend to not idolize politicians. Having said that, I do admire Hillary Clinton for her strength of character, integrity and intelligence. I hope one day to see her lead the United States as President.

5. 40 years from now, how do you picture your municipality?

I have travelled quite a bit in my 52 years and my preferred trips are always to cities. I have noted that so many people spend so much money and time travelling abroad just to experience glorious cities. It is my vision for Waterloo that it become such a city.

Vibrant, with a core district of four-to-seven-storey mixed use buildings with shops, businesses and restaurants on the main floor and residences above. I imagine a combination of integrated designated walking, cycling, rail and vehicular modes of transport.  

I imagine well-maintained small green spaces with shade for lunches, dog walks, kid play. I see Waterloo as a city where people enjoy life.