WELLINGTON COUNTY – While municipal elections are about a year away, an upcoming online panel wants to school election curious people in what it takes to run.
They’re not looking for just any candidates but are encouraging people underrepresented to run in municipal politics such as: women, Indigenous, Black, racialized, LGBTQS+ and youth to help diversify the pool of candidates.
Campaign School Wellington County and Campaign School Guelph starts its first phase with a Zoom panel discussion, called ‘Are you Election Curious?,’ featuring four women who know of the joys and challenges of running for office.
“This free session will be full of insights and practical advice from female leaders who have run for office,” said Diane Ballantyne, Wellington County councillor and 2018 provincial NDP candidate, in a press release.
“We hope their voices and experiences will inspire other non-traditional candidates to think about running for leadership positions next fall.”
Speakers at the event are: Aisha Jahangir, Guelph’s federal NDP candidate; Karen Redman, regional chair for Waterloo Region; Elizabeth Quinto, Oxford County federal Liberal candidate; and Kate MacNaughton, Prince Edward County councillor.
“We are so excited to be offering this online learning for community leaders who want to explore what is involved to run for municipal council or school board trustee,” shared one of the Campaign Guelph organizers, Teresa McKeeman.
“This free session will be full of insights and practical advice from female leaders who have run for office. We hope their voices and experiences will inspire other non-traditional candidates to think about running for leadership positions next fall.”
In a press release, Redman called running for office a brave thing to do when you’re someone from an underrepresented group.
“It is especially hard for non-traditional candidates like women and members of the Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities who might not have thought about running or have an established network to ask for support,” Redman said.
“I am so excited to be a part of this session to encourage all community leaders to explore what it means to run for office. We need their voices around our decision making tables.”
The 90-minute session will be an opportunity for prospective candidates to listen to other leaders and reflect on their interest in running for office.
Curt Hammond, a volunteer with Campaign School Wellington County, said in a phone interview this is the first in a three phase campaign to encourage more diverse local councils and school boards.
He said there is no obligation to carry-on past the first phase, it is free and no one will be identifiable in the virtual audience.
“So if you are thinking about running in an area and you don’t want to tip your hat, you’re not going to be identifiable,” Hammond said, adding all questions asked by the audience will be anonymous as well.
Further phases get more hands-on and become more of a time commitment for people more serious about running. Hammond said he hopes these can be held in-person next year.
Are you Election Curious? Will be held virtually on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. Register to participate here.