so i've been pretty slack at posting here at my own blog of late, though there have been a few sporadic posts over at the hand mirror in the interim. but i have a reason, and here it is.
i have made a decision to put my name forward for hamilton city council elections. i'll be standing in the hamilton east ward. it has been a big decision for me, and a scary one. i know it's normal for women in situations like this to have doubts: will i have what it takes? can i convince people that i'm able to do the job? but mostly, can i convince them to vote for me, with my hijab and my skin colour, my so obvious difference?
well, i'll never know until i try. what has persuaded me is the number of people who have been encouraging me to put my name forward and who do have faith in my abilities. i'm humbled by their kindness, and very much dependent on their support. so i'm putting my name out into the public arena, in a way that is very different to standing on the list.
hamilton city council is in a unique position this year, in that a number of existing councillors will be retiring this year. in hamilton, it has proved very difficult to unseat existing councillors, so this year there is a window of opportunity open. there is also the concerned citizens campaign, in which businessman ray stark has taken it upon himself to unseat as many of the existing councillors as he can, while not formally supporting or endorsing any candidate. it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
so into this environment i throw my hat (or headscarf, as it were). i firmly believe we need diversity on council, and i know i have a strong history of working with NGOs and community organisations, as well as political experience that will help. i can add to that my financial skills, and a passion to build community ie to build up a sense of people who look out for each other and want to develop a society which is about making sure everyone does well.
so, some time soon i will have a website for my campaign. and if anyone is interested in donating time, money or even moral support, it will be most gratefully received. you can let me know by making a comment to this blog, and because it's moderated, the comment won't be published until i approve it. just let me know if you wish your comment to be confidential.
and in the spirit of local body campaigning, here's an issue i feel strongly about: the city council is currently seeking to implement a new liquor policy, whereby they will "limit the number of new suburban liquour outlets by imposing tougher rules, and potentially dry areas." this is something i completely agree with, particularly since there tends to be a much higher level of liquor outlets in lower socio-economic areas. but it's also about giving local communities more of a say about what happens in their area, greater democracy if you will.
the current council are seeking to fastrack approval of the policy, in an attempt to ensure it gets passed before the election. there is a fear that a new council might not support the policy. i can at least say that i definitely support it now, and would support it if i was part of the new council.