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Chilliwack City Council candidate: Brenda Currie

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Interviewed by Vanessa Broadbent.

Since many students will be voting for the first time, what would you describe as the role of municipal politics? What can city councillors actually do?

City council votes on petitions, some environmental, different decisions and things that go on and are brought to council. They vote on zoning, rezoning, roads, development, and large businesses. They do quite a bit of decision-making. They usually have committees that make recommendations and then they do reading and following up on different committee chairs and what they recommend. Then they bring it to council and they vote on it. It’s important that students vote because it could be something to do with their university or city life. Because they’re young and are going to be the ones that take over, they should be out there really voting because it’s their future and they are our future. The more they know now while they are young, the better their future will be when they get to be my age.

Who do you view as your constituents?

I feel that because I was born here, I have very broad roots. I have people from all different walks of life. I have lived here all my life, I graduated from Sardis Secondary, I lived in Cultus Lake and Yarrow, and I’m really into sports and recreation. i have been a volunteer representative for a lot of charities in Chilliwack and also charities in BC. I have a varied cross-section of people. I have people that I work with, about 85 colleagues that are going to be hopefully voting for me. I have children that are 36, 30, and 21, and they have a network of young people that I stay in contact with as well. I think that I have a very big cross-section.

How will you receive the views of the entire population instead of just those most active around City Hall?

I have been out and having people speak to me and they come to me with their concerns and some are very small, some are very large, and I like to look at what they have to say because they can be very intelligent. I try to engage in conversation with everyone from all different walks of life and they actually speak to me and tell me how they view things. Once I think they feel that you are willing to listen, then they seem more open to being interested in what is going on in the municipality.

Are you doing anything to address the lack of student interest in local politics?

I am going to be speaking at a couple of engagements for youth. I also have a campaign manager who is 30, and she is very active as far as her peer group. She has two jobs and she meets the people on a regular basis and we have done fundraisers in places where youth go because we are trying to attract youth to voting. We are pretty active in the youth community.

If elected, how would what you want to do as councillor be different from what council is already doing?

I think that I would like to encourage a little more input from the people of the community. That would be my big mission. Because I have a background in zoning and bylaws, I would be active in that area.

Do you have a specific project you want to prioritize or bylaw you want to change?

I have a few things that I would like to take a look at. You don’t know all of the ins and outs until you get in. I have some suggestions and I only have one vote so it would be up to what the people bring forward. I would like to look at quite a few of the bylaws actually. I’ve written bylaws and constitutions so I’m big at looking at that kind of thing.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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