Well that didn’t turn out like I expected.
Loss is always an option when you’re seeking public office. There is no guarantee you’ll win, no matter how strong your resources and strategies. Pouring one’s heart into a campaign only to find themselves in second, third, fourth, or, in my dismal case, last place is always upsetting. But if you’ve done your best with what you were handed, don’t ever feel like it was in vein.
Personally, I’m glad I put my name forward for something I believed in. I’m glad I was convinced to stand for public office after years of studying elections, writing about elections, even playing video games about elections. I’m happy to have had this amazing opportunity.
I don’t know if I’ll run again in the foreseeable future. This isn’t one of those needlessly coy ‘never say never’ moments politicians are so fond of immediately following a defeat. This is a genuine statement those in the public eye are told to never utter: I don’t know.
I can tell you what I will do.
I’ll keep getting up, hopping on the GO Train, and heading into Toronto to study urban planning at Ryerson University with a group of extremely bright people I have neglected to get to know better these past two months.
I’ll keep playfully joking with the person that I am hopelessly, absolutely in love with, my one and only boo, James, about what to eat for dinner and what movie to watch on Friday nights.
I’ll keep reluctantly driving my lovingly irritating sister home from her job while subjecting her to a rant on why suburban shopping malls are terrible.
I’ll keep calling my mother, just to gripe about local affairs and the sorry state of whatever is in the news, all the while knowing that she’ll pass the message along to my father who will have an insight into the situation I would have never thought of in a million years.
I’ll keep texting my persistently patient friends to get together on the weekend just so we can play Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan until 2:00 in the morning, saying things we wouldn’t dare say in polite company.
I’ll finally win, after four years of failed attempts, NaNoWriMo (which you should totally check out here).
I’ll keep reading The Spec and posting pointed Tweets about local politics for my followers to tweet back at me about.
And, most of all, I’ll stay engaged. Our democratic system, with all its faults and flaws, provides me, the descendant of Scottish tugboat captains and Bavarian monastery groundskeepers, an opportunity to have a say in what happens in the world I live in. I’m a citizen, and that means something.
To the candidate who won: congratulations. The people of our communities have put their faith in you. You have earned their trust. Do not break it. You have an immense responsibility to respect the wishes of the people who elevated you to public office and they will remain vigilant, ensuring you uphold that. I have no doubt you will do your best and wish you the utmost luck during the next four years.
To my fellow candidates who were not successful: You ran excellent campaigns and it was a pleasure vying for office amongst you. I hope you learned as much as I did over the course of this campaign and hope you are not dissuaded from seeking higher office once again.
I’m humbled by the support I received and take that very seriously. I placed myself in the public eye, received the endorsement of 1335 of my fellow Hamiltonians, and learned so much in the process. That means a lot to me, and I promise I will remain involved, not just for my supporters, but for the thousands of Hamiltonians who called for change this past election.
Here’s one thing I can say emphatically: I love this city. And even if the winds of change take me elsewhere, I want Hamilton to know that I care about what happens here, and I genuinely want to see what’s best for this city become reality. You have decided that change will happen under someone else’s leadership, and I respect that choice, but know that Hamilton is a city of hope, optimism, and progress; values we have embraced, together.