On Thursday, Aug. 28, OBJ issued an open invitation to all candidates in the upcoming municipal election to answer one simple question: Why should the business community vote for you?
As the responses come in, one will be published online each day, and be included in our daily email newsletter. Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's submission comes from Cam Holmstrom, candidate in Rideau-Rockcliffe.
Thank you to Ottawa Business Journal for this opportunity and thank you for engaging all of the candidates in this municipal election, providing us a forum to talk about how business fits into our views and approaches.
I am running for council in Rideau-Rockcliffe, one of the most diverse wards in the city and one that I am very proud to call home.
We have many small businesses spread throughout, sprinkled in all the communities that make up our ward. We also have large commercial spaces, like St. Laurent Shopping Centre.
We have many great francophone business sprinkled throughout our communities.
We have the National Research Council and we have institutions of higher learning like La Cité Collegiale. And we also have promising new developments on the horizon with the re-development of the old Rockcliffe Air Force Base.
With the right approach and right representation, our future in Rideau-Rockcliffe is extremely bright.
I believe that a strong business community helps to make a stronger community as a whole and I know this from firsthand experience.
I have seen how thriving businesses can help a community flourish and I have also seen that when businesses struggle, the effect that it can have on the community at large.
Now I maybe a teacher by profession and a political staffer by interest, but my roots are in small business. I come from four generations of small business people and entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario, including my parents who have operated two different businesses over the past 25 years.
Growing up in that environment, I quickly came to have a great appreciation for not only the contributions of small businesses in our communities, but for the difficulties that they face on a day-to-day basis.
Whether it be the services that the city offers which business depends on, the plans for future developments that can have a positive or negative effect on your business, or anything in between, I believe it is important to have a representative at city council who not only understands these issues, but has experienced them in his or her own life.
While I am proud to be able to say that I come from a long line of small business people and have some experience, I do not claim to know it all.
I firmly believe in listening to my constituents, being available and accessible to them and to not just listen to their views, but act on them to the best of my ability.
This is the same approach I take when it comes to the business community, and if elected, I do promise to have that open door and attentive ear ready to listen.
I will be there to listen to and act on your concerns, whether they are on day to day issues of municipal service delivery, the issuing of permits and by-law enforcement, or on large issues of planning and the future direction of our city.
I have been blessed in my professional career to have experience building bridges and bringing people together around common interests. I believe that those areas of common interest exist between business, labour and the greater community as a whole.
I also believe that when we are able build a strong consensus around those issues, we can do great things together.
So in closing, why should the business community vote for me? I would say because I have the lived and professional experience to represent the needs of the business community and the entire community on council.
While I have experience, I also don’t claim to know it all. I want to hear from and work with the business community to help bring greater prosperity to our city.
Finally, I believe the business community should vote for me because I am running to ensure that our city is stronger for years to come, so that my two year old daughter will be able to live in our city, for as long as she wants, and have the bright future with all the opportunities that come with that right here in Ottawa.
I know that we cannot reach that potential here if we don’t work together. I believe I am the best person running in Rideau-Rockcliffe to help buildthose bridges, so that we can make our communities better, together.
Aug. 29 - Katherine Hobbs, incumbent, Kitchissippi
Sept. 2 - Jeff Leiper, candidate, Kitchissippi
Sept. 3 - Marc Aubin, candidate, Rideau-Vanier
Sept. 4 - Thomas McVeigh, candidate, Somerset