Get to Know Who's Running: Sarah Hamilton (Ward sipiwiyiniwak)

By Emil Tiedemann


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...

Ward sipiwiyiniwak

Sarah Hamilton


Sarah Hamilton is proud to be City Councillor for Edmonton’s Ward 5. She currently sits on the Executive Committee and the Utility Committee, and serves as a council representative on both the Edmonton Police Commission and the River Valley Alliance. She is also an advisor on Council’s Indigenous People’s Strategy and the Arts, Heritage and Culture Initiative, and spearheaded the City’s Design Initiative to enhance the function and aesthetics of city spaces and maximize the value and impact of its infrastructure investments. Sarah grew up in west Edmonton and graduated from the University of Alberta. She went on to receive a Master of Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before returning home to Edmonton. Prior to becoming a City Councillor, Sarah worked as an adjunct professor of media and communications, a freelance journalist, and the owner and operator of a communications and public relations firm working with several non-profit businesses throughout Edmonton. She has also held various public service-oriented roles in provincial and municipal government."


The Questions:

IE/ Why do you want to run for City Council?

Sarah Hamilton/ I’m running for re-election because our city is undergoing significant change; economically, environmentally and demographically. We are facing formidable challenges that require experienced, knowledgeable and creative leadership to help us navigate the next four years.

I’m running again because I want to continue to tackle these challenges, champion safety and resiliency for our businesses and community, and implement timely, impactful solutions for sustainable core services – building the best city for our collective success today and positioning us for an even brighter tomorrow.


I’m running because the last four years have shown me that leadership requires collaboration, bravery, ingenuity, and empathy.


I love our city, and our spirit of tenacity, innovation and creativity resonates deeply with me. We’re an innovative city that has a bright future ahead – and I’m running again because I will get us there.



IE/ 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?

SH/ I’ve served as the City Councillor for Ward 5 since 2017, and have a thorough knowledge of how our local government functions and is governed.  I have taken on leadership roles, such as chairing Community and Public Services Committee, and have passed bylaws based on feedback from west end residents, such as the Wildlife Feeding Bylaw. 

 

Prior to my time on City Council, I worked in provincial and federal politics and worked for the municipal government. I also taught, as a post-secondary educator, I was a freelance journalist and ran my own business. This has given me different life experiences that inform how I look at our city and the experiences people have in it.


IE/ What do you think are the 4 or 5 biggest issues facing Edmonton right now that you want to focus on most?

SH/ Economic recovery following the end of the Covid-19 pandemic will be a major focus for the next council. Ensuring that the gains we made over the last 10 years are not lost is important for ensuring the lasting prosperity of our city. Prior to the pandemic, we knew the economy was a priority; this last year emphasizes the need for the city to attract diverse industries and make ourselves attractive to outside investment, while supporting the innovation and research that happens here already.

At the same time we know the pandemic has taken a toll on homes and communities. Supporting families and individuals is also important for our city. We know, for instance, that family violence has increased in the last year, as well as the need for housing and food hampers. To be truly prosperous, we have to ensure that we strengthen our communities as well.



IE/ What do you think are some of the issues/struggles affecting your particular ward that you would like to focus on most?

SH/ West Valley Line LRT is being constructed over the next four years. This project connects a large employment centre (WEM) with the rest of the city, which is important. But I also know there’s a lot of concern about the cost of the project, the potential for traffic disruptions, and the long term sustainability of our transit system. Ensuring this project meets the expectations of Edmontonians is one reason I ran for council in 2017, and this is one of the reasons I want to serve west end residents again.


IE/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you loved and would like to expand upon?

SH/ I love the Abundant Communities initiative. I haven’t done much work on it, but it’s a community-driven program that encourages organizing at the neighbourhood level. It asks people to connect with their neighbours and get their neighbours to connect with neighbours. It has the potential to make us more connected in our neighbourhoods, to create a safer and more trusting community.


IE/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?

SH/ I stand by all my decisions as a City Councillor.


IE/ Do you think elected officials, such as City Councillors, should be able to block people on social media sites like Twitter?

SH/ Absolutely. Everyone is entitled to safe workplaces, and safe participation in public discourse. Being harassed, or being subjected to obscene comments is not in the spirit of safe public dialog, and by not blocking people, it validates those types of comments. Additionally, it sends the message to those watching the debate that this is an okay way to treat people and turns reasonable people off public participation.


IE/ 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)?

SH/ As a council, I believe we made our decisions with the best information available to us at the time. We took care of people as best we were able, and made difficult calls on service delivery based on that knowledge.

But we probably should have cut the grass more.



IE/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?

SHOur stunning river valley, our long days, and the fact that just about anyone will sit down with your and talk about your ideas for this city. 


IE/ Can you describe yourself in 5 words or less?

SH/ Hardworking, smart, a good listener.


Thank you, Sarah! 


Follow along with the candidates on Twitter HERE#yegvotes2021
Find Sarah on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
Visit Sarah's website HERE
Contact Sarah HERE.

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