I can’t remember whether it was a municipal, provincial or federal election the first time my father brought me to a polling station. It was at the Legion here in Clarenville.
A resident in any community with a municipal election next week can insert their community’s name into this letter.
I waited as he lined up to go behind a small wall where, one by one, people would disappear and then reappear a few moments later holding a piece of folded paper in hand.
I remember thinking it was like a secret note you would pass around school to classmates, trying not to get caught by the teacher. Each secret got placed in a wooden box but nobody looked at the paper.
Not like the teacher would have.
As a young child of eight or nine, it was difficult to understand the importance of his contribution to democracy. I mean really, what could one vote possible mean?
Sept. 24th I will do what my father encouraged from such a young age – vote!
And I believe at this point in Clarenville’s history, no other election could possibly be as critical. Each candidate seeking election deserves your consideration.
It is us, the residents, who get to choose the next team of individuals to manage our community for the next four years.
If someone calls or knocks on your door, whether you know her/him or not, ask a few questions. Get to know the candidate.
Ask what motivated her/him to seek election or re-election. Find out what issues they feel are a priority.
Most importantly, ask how they plan to hear your concerns in the next four years. Communication and dialogue with residents shouldn’t only happen once every four years.
You need to trust the people you are electing will continue to listen, take your concerns seriously and act accordingly.
I once spoke to council during an in-camera session about my encounter with a dog. As a concerned citizen I asked for stricter by-laws regarding wandering dogs, a dog park, signage along trails requiring dogs to be leashed, etc.
Council listened. Many of my suggestions were acted upon quickly. That is what they are elected to do.
Clarenville has been home to me for most my life and I can think of no other place I’d rather be. That doesn’t mean it can’ be better.
Like many other residents, I have ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.
I want a greener community; one that places priority on protecting and improving its green spaces, trails, recreational spaces, encourages recycling and reduces waste.
I need a council that will actively seek a safer entrance into our town for residents and visitors who travel here.
I need a community where growth is balanced and quality of life is paramount. I want to elect a team of dedicated individuals who will balance economic growth with community development, so our town continues to attract diverse populations of seniors, youth and families.
I want to elect a team who understands ‘place-making’ and values quality of life.
I want a town that welcomes diversity. I need a council that encourages diversity in our growth, including affordable housing.
I want a council that will seek input, plan and implement in a fiscally responsible manner. We all need to elect a team that will bring Clarenville through the next four years with a vision we all agree on.
So, on Sept. 24, I will be seeking a team of individuals that will protect what makes my hometown a safe, thriving, beautiful, prosperous and welcoming place to live.
I will also be taking my son (as I have done many other times) to ensure he understands every single vote counts.
Please take time to vote. Your opinion matters.
And please, remember to take the kids.