Get to Know Who's Running: Daniel Heikkinen (Ward sipiwiyiniwak)
There happens to be a Municipal Election coming up in Edmonton on October 18, 2021, and I think it's important for locals to get to know the City Council candidates running for their particular ward (as well as their Mayoral candidates, of course). I chose to get more involved in the election this year and so wanted to give each candidate a chance to tell us a little about themselves, their vision, and why you should vote for them. I have sent a 10-question questionnaire to each of the 2021 Edmonton Municipal Election candidates and will post their responses (100% as written) here as they come in. With that said, let's get to know...
“I am local. Born and raised in Edmonton, I’ve seen the city grow and expand. I grew up in Lymburn, moving to Westridge in my later teens. I went to high school at Jasper Place, and attended GMCC and the UofA, graduating in 2010 with a BSc in Psychology, with focuses in behavioral and cognitive psych. Along the way I also studied political science, earth & atmospheric science, and economics. After graduating, I got a job with Sherwin Williams learning all about the paint coatings industry. In 2014 I decided to operate a paint and flood restoration company. I soon realized I excelled at retail instead and became a Benjamin Moore owner in 2015. I currently own three stores that are managed and run by my trusted and reliable team."
I♥E/ Why do you want to run for City Council?
Daniel Heikkinen/ I wanted to run for council to serve the public and represent the people. I feel our current city council doesn't do enough to listen to the people and respond to their concerns.
I♥E/ Can you tell us about your past or current experiences that you think could possibly benefit/ translate to your position as a member of City Council?
DH/ I am a small business owner with three locations, managing a team of 15 people, so I not only have experience in team management but also business development. I have BSc in psychology and a minor in sociology, which would be helpful in actually understanding the impacts that homelessness, addiction and poverty have on the people, and that when addressing it we do not stigmatize the people were trying to help.
I♥E/ What do you think are the 4 or 5 biggest issues facing Edmonton right now that you want to focus on most?
DH/ There are several issues, namely our dysfunctional transit system, garbage removal, road maintenance, snow removal and lawn care. I feel that the only thing that this city is doing well, where people would ask "yes we want more of that" is the river valley, and even that is a potential concern with the solar farm and proposed gondola project.
I♥E/ What do you think are some of the issues/struggles affecting your particular ward that you would like to focus on most?
DH/ Transit and homelessness are the major concerns of the ward according to the feedback I have received from door knocking.
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you loved and would like to expand upon?
DH/ Supportive housing and the continued work of the REACH program, constructive effort in combating homelessness and crime.
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?
DH/ The solar farm is a terrible idea, we do not need to risk damage to our river valley when there are numerous buildings that we could build solar infrastructure onto it.
I♥E/ Do you think elected officials, such as City Councillors, should be able to block people on social media sites like Twitter?
DH/ Yes, but only if the person they were blocking is toxic and abusive. We do not tolerate that behavior against private citizens, that same consideration extends to public servants. But there should be some form of transparency to assure people that the councillor isn't just ducking valid criticism.
I♥E/ When it comes to COVID-19 restrictions, what do you think we got wrong (if anything) as a city or province, and is there anything you would want to do differently (municipally OR provincially)?
DH/ Covid restrictions were provincially mandated, and I am unsure of the amount of feedback municipalities were giving if any. So I doubt the city could have done much more as health related matters are provincial.
I♥E/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?
DH/ The fringe is without a doubt my favorite thing about the city, I try to go every year, and I love our theatre community, especially the Die-nasty crew and their soap-a-thons.
I♥E/ Can you describe yourself in 5 words or less?
DH/ Rational, compassionate, determined.
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