I expected that becoming the next Ward C Candidate for Edmonton Public would have a learning curve; perhaps I would even venture to say that I *hoped* it would. What I was not prepared for was being asked this specific question:
“So, Mrs. Ketteringham, what party are you affiliated with?”
My fleeting initial thoughts were of the Soccer Fundraising Party (click here if you want to donate) we are hosting at my house this weekend. Rapidly it was replaced with a fundraising event (click here if you want to donate) my son and two of his Grade 3 friends are attending Saturday night. Then I thought perhaps the reference was about my son’s upcoming 9th birthday party. Then, just as quickly, it dawned on me that it was about a political party.
I realize now that I have always voted for the person, who they are and what kind of leader they will make. I vote for the person who will communicate openly and advocate with integrity, even if we won’t always agree. For me, it’s about finding a candidate who will work to resolve problems, not just tow the party line.
Let me be clear: I am running for trustee to represent a community of people vested in the children of their community. I am pursing a role with Edmonton Public School Board Ward C to be a leader who seeks solutions, and works in whatever way necessary to reach the best possible outcome with effectiveness and efficiency. I am not representing any one party. Aligning oneself with one party for all time makes little sense to me, especially when our children are involved. There are many ways to approach a problem, and many perspectives, in my opinion, generate a better outcome. I wouldn’t want to support a leader who only had one worldview, and I would hope that no one party would find my leadership worth supporting: I intend to be the leader who seeks resolutions that transcend party lines. Only a person can serve another. Person to person, I intend to represent, and advocate, to hear, learn, and teach.
Perhaps the premise of a ‘party’ assures people of common values, priorities, and principles. I challenge you to get to know those very things about the person you intend on voting for. I know I always do.
Perhaps the question seeks to know me better, what kind of person I will be when difficult decisions need to be made, or priorities need to be set. Perhaps concerns of party lines are a way for you to begin to trust me more, especially with your precious children. To those questions, I can respond that I am a person who will work with other people until the wee hours of the night if necessary to find the best possible solution for our children, and their education. Then the decisions that I participate in, I will take responsibility for: making all efforts I can to see the thoughts come into action, and be in conversation with people who disagree. My husband and I teach our son to take responsibility for his decisions, so what kind of a person would I be if I didn’t model that myself? To me, this style of leadership isn’t reflective of a party, it’s reflective of a person
So, if there is any one party that stands out in your mind that reflects my expectations of leaders, let me know! I suspect, though, that what you are seeking is reassurance about who I am and how I will respond to situations none of us can foresee. To that, I say, let’s get to know each other.