Week 1 : How to… run for Council

It’s been just over a week since I made public, my intention to run in this years local body elections.  I’m running for the Hamilton West ward – with “election day” on October 8th 2016.  For the next month, there isn’t really anything that I have to “do” per se.  More – just get my head around my campaign and to start to communicate to the public who I am and what I’m all about, by the power of the written word.

I’ve decided to take you on the journey by sharing the things I’m learning as I go.

So far, I’ve started a facebook page – and will be blogging here.  Online mediums are paramount when you are on a budget like I am.  I learnt this when advertising and promoting Teacup and Saucer and Ferrybank Market.

SMILE and the camera smiles at you – cringe and you’ll look demented. 

I’m always on the other side of the camera – and being photographed makes me cringe, literally… which makes me look ridiculous and awkward in photos.   I was asked for a “professional photo” for an article Hamilton News is doing regarding my intention to run.  James took one for me… it was “ok”, as in my eyes were open, but I still spent half a day trying to photo shop out my wrinkles and blemishes (with my zero photo shop skills) before I gave up.  On Friday I went into the Hamilton News office to have Ged take one for their article.  I have to trust that I wont look like a complete doofus, since I don’t get to check the version he uses.  Time will tell.  So, getting comfortable in front of a camera will be a challenge for me to face in the near future.  It’s not as if a Councillor gets paparazzi’d but it’s fair to assume I will need to learn not to grimace at the camera.  I have been told by two incumbents so far, that the choice of professional photo you send in with your nomination form is one of the most important things you will do.

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The nails behind my head – not a good look…. (easily removed a la photoshop).   The tongue and groove is also a no-no, too distracting.  I managed to keep my eyes open though… win!

How to.  A professional photo is important.  It may be the only visual people have of you before they vote.  You need to be tidy and “ready for business” but be warm and smile genuinely.  I’m going to go in search of a photographer who can take on the challenge of ME to get a series of photos I am happy with.  I’ll need to do this within the next few weeks. Stay tuned. 

They can’t knock it down!

About mid-week there was an article by the Waikato Times about an old heritage building being demolished in Hamilton East.  These stories always put a fire in my belly because I feel they are so important to save.  This week has been about learning about how I will put that energy into being constructive – because saving all old buildings is not possible, unfortunately.  So, I did a little bit of research into the Council’s current practices and it’s soon to be released Heritage plan.  This is definitely an area of the Council that I would like to work on.  I have found the current Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman extremely helpful and courteous with my (probably naive sounding) questions.  He is stepping down before the next council – and I wonder who else will have a genuine desire to protect our heritage…
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On that note – I have fond memories of nights spent upstairs at the Railway buildings when it was let out to local musos for practices.  They’ve been closed off for a while and last time I asked (about a year ago) – they were being earthquake strengthened.  When I saw the building on Friday – I started to really wonder if that was the case… they look like they are being completely gutted.  I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I did start a process of finding out facts about what is happening – and will inform you as soon as I know more.

How to.  A Councillor is expected to research, interview and find answers for the matters that concern them and their constituency.  While genuine passion and personal preference is important in decision making (to stay true to yourself) the needs/wants of other parties needs to be considered.  Listening with an open mind (free of agenda) is key. 

Our city is cool… really! 

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I shared these photos on Friday – after a lunch in the central city to celebrate James’ birthday.  While no-body needs to ask me twice to go to a market – I also went to the Queens birthday market at Frankton School today.  I was excited when I read about the market, because their aren’t too many community events in our area (Dinsdale).  I also believe that as a Councillor you should be attending as many of these events as possible, so I’ll be making a habit of getting to as many as I can.  This is not just to give you more of a chance of being elected/ re-elected, but it allows people to feel that you are approachable and that the Councillors are a part of the community and not just a group who exists within the council chamber.

How to: A big part of being a city Councillor (in my opinion) is being a genuine advocate for our city.  Genuinely loving the city shows – with your passion, promotion and support of local people, events, places, initiatives and future. 

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One thought on “Week 1 : How to… run for Council

  1. Great blog post Kelli … I certainly agree that councilors and those running for council need to be out and about amongst the community, getting to know Hamilton from the bottom up .. and if elected, to keep doing so for the whole 3 years. Best of luck – we need more people like that in council! 🙂

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