A Nanaimo councillor who says she has helped build foundations, launch projects, bring new ideas and form new partnerships wants to be part of the discussions and decisions that come next.
Coun. Erin Hemmens, 44, a former coroner who works in the community health sector, is one of eight current city council members running for re-election.
Hemmens topped the polls in 2018 and said when she first sought a city councillor position, she didn’t expect it to be “a quick or easy thing” and felt she was making a certain level of commitment at that time.
“We’ve spent four years doing some really good work and really want to be part of the team that implements a good chunk of it,” she said. “I’m really excited with some of the directions that Nanaimo’s going in and I think I have a lot to offer in terms of being on the leadership team as the city undergoes big changes.”
Sometimes change doesn’t happen as quickly as some people would wish. Hemmens was part of the city’s health and housing task force and said her colleague, Coun. Don Bonner, has said that the work sometimes felt like running into a wall of Jell-O.
“We are in times of crisis and I think our community is really looking for people who are willing to push a little bit to make sure that we’re setting good goals in place and that we’re taking care of each other in a way that makes sense,” Hemmens said.
She said most citizens with whom she’s spoken have indicated they’re grateful for the current council’s steady leadership, though she knows people don’t agree with all of council’s decisions and those voices can get “really loud” during the election campaign.
“We haven’t hit it out of the park on every [issue] but I think overall, people are satisfied not to be seeing our city’s name in national newspapers or having lawsuits [involving] senior staff or all those sorts of things,” she said.
This campaign, she thinks voters are perhaps less interested in who the candidates are and more interested in the policies they wish to bring to the city, and said that’s a positive in changing times. She’s interested in continuing to work on “pressing issues” of homelessness, climate change, community safety and housing affordability.
Hemmens said she hopes the next council will be made up of people who come to the table prepared, ready to be engaged and ready to get to work.
“I’ve been happy to work with both conservatives and progressives on our council and at the end of the day, I’m not looking for someone with a certain vision as much as someone who is willing to fight for the things that they believe in for the betterment of our community in a way that is both collaborative and with the ability to recognize that they are one voice and the community is a multitude of voices,” she said.
For more information, visit http://www.hemmens.ca.
Anyone running for mayor or councillor in the City of Nanaimo or the District of Lantzville, regional director in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area A, B, C or E, or school trustee in School District 68 is asked to contact the Nanaimo News Bulletin to set up an interview. Phone Greg Sakaki at 250-734-4621 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.