Get to Know Who's Running: Tom Shaw (Ward Karhiio)
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've always had pride in my community—since my parents built my childhood home in Millwoods in the 70’s, started my own family life near the Grey Nuns, and now for over a decade in our forever home in Southeast Edmonton—I know Karhiio, the people, the culture, our challenges, and our advantages. I’m proud to have my kids going to the same schools I did, playing in the same parks, parking their bikes on the same front lawns, and building life long friendships in our communities. I live Karhiio and why I’ll continue to be a representative, a friend, an advocate, and provide results from meaningful engagement, as your Councillor."
I♥E/ Why do you want to run for City Council?
Tom Shaw/ I've lived in Karhiio my entire life—and have no intention of changing that. I have the same concerns about my community and City as my neighbours. I understand people, our environment and culture, our challenges, and our advantages.
I see into details for viability in initiatives, I make sure every dollar counts, I concentrate on proper implementation, I successfully and continually advocate for what matters in our community, and I am able to promote appropriate practices for our betterment.
I am committed to successfully continuing as a community representative and advocate, to providing ongoing, meaningful engagement, and most importantly to be a locally accessible friend and neighbour.
Although I’ve never had previous aspirations for City Council, my commitment to community work, my educational background, my personable and engaging nature, and my career experience have prepared me to be successful in this representative role as Ward Karhiio Councillor.
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?
TS/ After years in both private and public sector land development roles, as well as other private sector endeavors, I joined Alberta Health Services.
I am a Project Manager at AHS with a decade and a half of experience managing many different projects of varying budgets, complexities, and constraint. Projects include varying level of intensity like MRI or CT scanner renovations/installations, Stollery Children’s Hospital initiatives such as a NICU creation, the creation of Addictions and Mental Health spaces, OR designs, province wide initiatives, and site wide mechanical/electrical main line projects to name a few.
My strengths have always been in bringing together stakeholders and in leading multi-faceted teams, giving me the expertise to manage a wide range of projects, operations, and people—from conception and initiation, to budgeting, scoping and procurement, design collaboration, and construction execution, then through completion and operations.
But beyond the actual projects, I have gained significant insight into Lean administrative environments, contract law, procurement, governance, and business/government driven processes. I have benefited from delving in-depth into AHS clientele and programs, enhancing my ability to fully understand the social challenges we deal with and how they can be resolved.
I♥E/ What do you think are the 4 or 5 biggest issues facing Edmonton right now that you want to focus on most?
TS/ There will be differences with other wards, but my focus will be on what I’ve outlined in my platform (www.tomshaw.ca) generated from living my entire life in the community, from my dedication to the community, and through engagement with my neighbours.
My main goals will be to:
Create safe communities with a concentration on crime prevention, transportation, and engaging all people.
Generate value in our core services, our administration, our maintenance and projects, and in the way we implement initiatives - all through care, collaboration, meaningful engagement, and information sharing.
Stimulate the economy. Edmonton must do its part to reduce our taxes, encourage development, promote ourselves through action as a business hub, and invigorate our communities. Efficiencies can be sought in our administration and operations through the reduction of process overridden policies, we can concentrate on what we as an organization can do to simplify and expedite business needs, procurement practices can be evaluated to generate more value from our vendors/contractors, and we can promote and support our local industries and businesses giving them, and us, a chance to prosper.
Build progress by continually work with our communities (People, Industry, and Commerce) to be informed of collective concerns and to increase meaningful engagement. Some of us feel that current engagement is limited and, in most cases, do not result in actions brought forth by our concerns. Our communities are the front-liners who can generate information from the masses, with a real concentration on the needs of each and every community. Building these stronger relationships can aid in information dissemination, in spearheading initiatives, and in generating meaningful, honest and result driven involvement.
Promote social programming in an effort to help reduce homelessness. This takes a strengthened, combined effort between current agencies, building owners, developers, and builders; it also takes collaboration with the Federal and Provincial Governments, the expansion of existing programs rather than duplication and new planning, and in working directly with Alberta Health Services Addictions and mental health.
I’ve proven to be able to find ways in bringing the most appropriate people together, building trust in a mutually beneficial plan for result driven policies.
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you loved and would like to expand upon?
TS/ There are several programs that have been successful and warrant promotion and expansion. The issue lies in the implementation, duplication, cost and processes overridden policy. When we make our program deliver more efficient, collaborative, and Lean, we will be able to expand and deliver what all of our communities need.
As a community minded person, increases to social programming, grant incentives, and engagement will be what I strive towards. However, this will need to be balanced with initiatives to promote business interests, development, and red tape reduction to spur the economy and aid in this community building.
I♥E/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?
TS/ It’s not so much that I am against specific initiatives, it’s in the implementation and timing that seem to be a serious challenge with the city. There are some really great ideas and initiatives being created to make our city attractive, safe, progressive and livable, but there is a rightful perception that the implementation lacks forethought and planning. This is what I intend to delve into and evaluate for success.
Instead of blanket policies, duplication, and reactive mentalities; or untimely expensive “pet” projects, we need to work closer with our communities and determine the right needs at the right times for who we serve.
I♥E/ Do you think elected officials, such as City Councillors, should be able to block people on social media sites like Twitter?
It is dependent on the degree. If someone is tweeting misinformation or blatant lies, then reporting the situation to the appropriate platform is warranted for their decision based on their policy.
When there is abuse, bullying tactics, coordinated attacks, threats or continual harassment, then yes, for one’s own safety and mental health, I think one should be able to block these types of situations from continuing to occur.
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)?
TS/ Even experts disagree on the handing of the pandemic. It is hard to judge the steps taken as this was certainly an unprecedented situation. The major concerns in the initial steps were with inconsistent messaging, being dually unprepared, not acting quicker, and the lack of transparency reduced public acceptance. I feel considerations we need to make for the future are with increased disaster services planning, increased collaboration with our Health Services, and innovation for tracing pandemic spread.
I♥E/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?
TS/ I love the people and I love our city. There is such diversity, so much acceptance, we’re community minded, we’re approachable and we welcome conversations. Edmonton has a reputation for being the City of Champions, and not just in sport. We’re volunteers, we donate, we work together, we build a better community.
I’ve built lifelong friendships and am able to provide my kids with the same sort of neighbourhood experience that I remember growing up in. Bikes on lawns, kids coming to doors unannounced asking to play, groups of kids walking together to schools that I attended, backyard fires with several neighbourhood families, and periodic garage “meetings”—all part of our community experience.
We can make Edmonton even better and a more vibrant place to work, play, and grow.
I♥E/ Can you describe yourself in 5 words or less?
TS/ Community-minded, engaging, collaborative, genuine, and committed.