Running for Kitchener municipal council is something I have been considering for quite some time. Ward 4 — Pioneer Park specifically — has literally been central to my entire life. This community has raised me, sustained me and generally served me well always. There is nowhere I would rather be, and now our community is doing it all over again for my children. I owe this city and my own corner of it a great deal. The time has come for me to find ways to give back so that one day my children can say the same, and hopefully do the same.
I have benefited from many exemplary mentors in my life and have, I hope, made good use of the lessons they generously took the time to impart. I believe strongly in leading by example and take seriously the role of mentor to young people. I believe in taking the time at every opportunity to share our knowledge, experience, time and resources with those who could use a hand up … regardless of whether or not anyone is watching.
How I see us
I am a small business owner and entrepreneur. As such, I have had the privilege of getting to know a wide cross section of amazing people representing every KW demographic and hearing first hand about their challenges, successes. Most of all, I hear their pride in, and commitment to, our amazing city. Every single day residents quietly, each in their own way, contribute to the wellbeing of the communities that make up our city. My daily interactions have served as daily lessons in humility and have served to ensure open minded thinking. There is no ‘us and them’ — only US.
I have worked in many different roles and dealt with all people from all walks of life — from CEO’s to minimum wage earners often working multiple part time jobs. What we all have in common is the desire to make life better — for ourselves, our families, our communities, for the vulnerable and challenged in our lives.
Through my restaurant we have been able to meet and help some of the many unsung heroes who contribute time, energy, money, and expertises towards making this region a better place. I have been lucky enough to contribute food, my time catering for a few of these events and feel I have helped in some small way.
I have worked with the Reception House to find suitable homes for new refugees to Kitchener and felt the struggle within low-income housing; I have also worked with large development companies and watched the line be drawn between profit and social responsibilities.
Our family owned and operated restaurant always depended on fresh locally sourced ingredients, protecting our farmlands and green spaces is of primary importance to me, both a family man and a local businessman. The protection and enhancement of our precious natural environment is very important to me, as it is of primary importance to so many residents in our region. Our futures depend on clean air, water, land, healthy green spaces and well nurtured sensitive environmental features.
As a small family business owner I have attended council meetings relevant to issues faced in both my business and in my personal life. I have dealt with the outcomes of those meeting sometimes good – sometimes not so good. In my role as an owner of, and chef for, a family restaurant in my ward I have spoken with, and will continue to speak with, people in all industries, and from all walks of life, regarding experiences they have had with council. I know first hand the challenges faced by individuals and business enterprises who are committed to fostering healthy local economic and social growth. ‘Buy Local’ is more than just a tagline. Behind the tagline, is a cultural movement that contributes substantially to our social and economic infrastructure and growth with potential for even greater contribution. I hope to apply all I’ve learned and experienced to achieve a greater understanding and responsiveness within City Hall.
I had no desire to challenge incumbent Yvonne Fernandes who has worked tirelessly in the service of Ward 4 and the city and I expected it would be some time yet before I would have the opportunity to put myself forward as a candidate for Ward 4. When Yvonne announced it was time to step away to have time to focus on other challenges, I decided that time was now. As a beneficiary of her tireless service, I would like to take a moment here and express my thanks to Yvonne for all she has contributed of herself to the good of Ward 4 and the city at large. Take a moment for a quick bird’s eye view of how residents feel about Kitchener and their local communities as captured by the #lovemyhood initiative.
I hope I can count on your support. I genuinely believe, that together we can do some pretty amazing things. It all starts with listening to each other over coffee… ( I do seriously love coffee … )