Nadia Hansen wants to provide a “bit of a shakeup” to Newmarket council.
The 24-year-old is running for office for the first time to challenge incumbent Councillor Christina Bisanz in Ward 7.
Hansen said she wants to play a part in giving voice to those who “may not have felt as represented in the past.”
“As things change, as our community grows and becomes more diverse, our council needs to reflect that same growth and diversity,” she said. “New voices will bring in new perspectives, and new positive changes to the community.”
Hansen has worked full time in strategy and communications for the mayor of Burlington. She said she is also about to graduate with a masters in political science to go with her bachelor’s degree in human rights and social justice.
Having grown up in Newmarket, Hansen said she has witnessed all the change and growth it has gone through.
“I just want to play a part in making my community better,” she said. “I do recognize I do have a lot of people to get to know. I do need to get out into my ward and start knocking on those doors pretty consistently.”
One way Hansen has tried to improve the community is as the vice-chair of the Town of Newmarket’s dismantling anti-Black racism task force. The group delivered a report last year making 117 recommendations to address anti-Black racism and is working with the municipality on an implementation plan.
Being receptive to people's voices will be key to that, she said.
“Listening to their experiences and not discounting those experiences,” she said. “We want it to be as much of a collaborative effort as possible … Actually address the needs of the people that were hoping to break down those systemic barriers.”
Other issues Hansen said she would like to address are more affordable housing and allowing cannabis retailers to open in town.
“We should be more open to things like that,” she said, “and not necessarily allow the fear to close off these opportunities.”
To prepare for her first-ever run for office, she said she has spoken with experienced individuals such as MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy. She said she intends to be out and present in the community as the campaign gets underway.
“I recognize there will be a bit of a challenge,” she said. “Whatever the outcome is, I’ll be happy with myself as long as I know I’ve tried my best. But obviously, I want to win. I’m up for a challenge."
Although she is relatively young as a candidate, Hansen said she brings plenty of experience navigating municipal politics.
“I just don’t want people to discount me because of my age,” she said. “I have the experience, and I’ve drawn on a lot of different, empowering female politicians, and they’ve left me with a lot of knowledge.
“I feel 100 per cent confident of me going into this election, this race, and I just hope I can convince the people of Newmarket to trust in me as well.”