Brief profile: Contender for Hamilton mayoralty, Angela O’Leary was first elected on the Council in 2007 & is seeking another term as a councillor also. Angela wants future rates increases to be aligned with CPI (she voted against the rates increase in the 10-year plan) & advocates sale of Claudelands Events Centre. As a councillor, she initiated & was involved in the introduction of live streaming of the Council’s formal meetings; public forums to the start of every Council meeting; closure of city’s synthetic drug stores; Norris Ward Park project; Hamilton Garden’s development, etc. She is also the first user of augmented reality in her campaign (NewsViews).
By Angela O’Leary:
In my role as your Hamilton City Councillor I get to meet people from all walks of life. Many have moved here from a different country, drawn to the beauty of New Zealand and our easy-going lifestyle.
These people, like those of us who have been here longer, have the same dreams. To own a home, raise a family, and enjoy life in a friendly, safe community in a peaceful functioning democracy.
People who are newer to Hamilton often connect quickly with other new arrivals and look for communities to connect with that share the same ‘newness’, as they start to build their life here.
One such person was a woman I met at an ethnic celebration who told me of her previous life in India. For her, life growing up in a big family was hard, with never enough of anything to go around. She missed her family and had been lucky to return home for a few visits over the years.
When I met her, she’d only just received her New Zealand citizenship. Her ceremony here in Hamilton was something she would never forget.
We got onto the subject of voting – this was soon after the 2016 election – and I asked if she had voted. She hadn’t. Although she had always voted back home, she was yet to vote here. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to, but she felt that because they were currently renting the house they lived in, it never occurred to them that their vote would matter.
It got me thinking about how many other new arrivals to Hamilton feel the same way.
Part of living in a free and democratic society is the right to take part in elections. Through the national and local government elections you help to choose your political leaders. This includes choosing who makes decisions on your behalf at Hamilton City Council.
Whether you rent or own a home, your everyday life is affected by the decisions made by your Mayor and Councillors.
Look around your home. The water that comes from the tap, the footpaths and roads that connect your neighbourhood, and the parks and playgrounds you enjoy all result from decisions made by elected members you can and SHOULD vote for – every 3 years.
Living in a free democracy is a privilege, and I fully encourage you to enjoy and make the most of that privilege.
If you’ve never voted, make this year your year to start. Get out and participate! Research the candidates, go to a candidate meeting, and cast your vote.
You might have already seen lots of election signage up around the city, and hopefully you’ve spotted some of mine!
After 12 years serving as your Hamilton City Councillor I am now standing for Mayor, and I would love to have your vote. But more importantly, I want you TO vote. I want to live in a city where the leaders listen to what residents have to say, and where the elected officials make decisions that are truly in the best interests of the people.
I have the right experience to be Mayor and you are my priority. I believe that genuinely honest leadership starts by remembering that Council works for you, the residents.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this column,ViewPoint are the personal opinions of the writer, and do not reflect the views of NewsViews nor does it ascribe to these. NewsViews and/or persons associated with it, also do not assume any responsibility or liability arising out of it ,if any, for the views expressed.