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22-year-old aspires to bring voice for youth to Newmarket council

'We need younger people in office,' says candidate running in Ward 2
20220621-Election profile-JQ
Hunter Murchison-Doggart said she hopes to highlight youth involvement in politics as she runs for municipal council.

Hunter Murchison-Doggart said youth need to become more active in politics.

So, the recent political science graduate said she plans to set an example by running for councillor in Ward 2 in the October municipal election.

“It’s something that’s very important,” she said. “To be that advocate. To make sure that youth know this is something you can do, this is something you should be involved with.”

Murchison-Doggart has formally submitted her nomination for the riding, where she will go up against incumbent Victor Woodhouse.

The 22-year-old candidate said she was born and raised in Newmarket and was involved at the high school level in student council and other leadership roles. She went to Acadia University in Nova Scotia for political science, with aspirations to go into law school afterwards.

But after coming home in May, she said she set her sights on a political run. She said seeing university student engagement in Nova Scotia politics made her want to bring that here.

“Trying to have more political events that students can be involved in, so they gain that experience,” she said. “We’re the future generations. We need to understand that stuff because it’s our vote that matters.”

She said she feels well connected to her ward, though added it may not be as much compared to her incumbent opponent. Still, she said she hopes to change that by knocking on doors and making herself present. 

“It’s just about going door to door and meeting everybody else that I haven’t actually met yet and try to connect more with them,” she said. 

Recreational spaces like the youth and senior centres are important to her, she said, and she wants to ensure the programs are efficient and work with others' schedules. She said she also wants to hear the neighbourhood's opinions on development in the ward.

Municipal councils tend to be older and predominantly male, with the median age for councillors at 60 according to a 2016 profile from the Rural Ontario Institute. But she said youthful candidates are worth consideration and are important to ensure there are enough who want to run for council in the future. 

“I understand how it works,” she said. “I’m representing the future generation of Newmarket. We need younger people in office.”

Although she has aspirations for law school, Murchison-Doggart said she would focus on her councillor role if elected. She said she may not have as much experience as her opponents but is going into the campaign feeling confident.

“I'm coming in with lots of energy, and this young mind might be a refreshing change,” she said. “That’s what’s keeping my confidence up for this. Whatever happens, happens.”