It means a lot to me to be running for Fremantle City Ward Councillor. I'm grateful to be a candidate in such an amazing, unique place - even just being on the ballot feels like an honour.
I'm also grateful that these elections aren't being held any later in the year. Despite living all my life in hot places, my internal thermostat stubbornly refuses to acclimatise. Instead, it chooses to react to temperatures over 32 degrees by dousing me in such quantities of sweat that I look like I'm the victim of a very localised indoor rain cloud. Council Chambers where the ballots were drawn this afternoon was pretty warm already - another degree or two and I would have been in trouble.
It's even earned me a nickname. My wife and I were married on a typical February afternoon - hot and sultry, and not the best environment for a suit. When I rang our wedding photographer Mitch a couple of weeks later, I'd only got as far as giving him my name when he said, "oh yeah, the sweater!"
(I broke the news to my brand new wife that our wedding photos were likely to all be duds and confessed how embarrassed I was, but she just shrugged philosophically and reminded me that Mitch was a police photographer by day - "so don't worry, he's used to crime scenes.")
For this campaign, instead of my sweating, I hope that I'm identified as the local candidate who is saying what a lot of people are thinking.
I'm proud to be the only City Ward candidate who actually lives in the City Ward - something I believe is really important. I was adamant from the very beginning that I would only run in this ward - it's my home and it's where my daughter will spend her childhood. I'm not aligned with any political party or business association either, so if elected my only responsibility will be to serve the best interests of the community that voted me in.
My professional experience
My professional expertise is something else that I believe sets me apart in this election. I've worked in strategic urban planning in local government for a number of years now and I love it. One of my specialities is place making - and the other is knowing how to actually get things done in local government.
I've dealt with everything from the quagmire of needless, suffocating red tape to developing place making and movement strategies for local schools. I know that there are two types of bureaucracy: the bad kind that strangles innovation, picks petty arguments with progress and makes people's lives unnecessarily difficult, and there's the necessary kind, that ensures that development is built up to a standard and not down to a price.
I've managed countless community consultations, and I know exactly how to do them well and in a way that gives community members genuine input into how projects are developed - as opposed to the superficial 'tick the box' scenario that is unfortunately far too common in government, designed to placate ratepayers without the inconvenience of actually acting on what they want.
So yes, I'm really excited by this election. I'm exhilarated by the passion I see and hear for our great port city, and I share in it.
I look forward to speaking with and, more importantly, listening to as many people as I can during the next five weeks. Although, I won't hold it against anyone who meets me and thinks, "who is this guy again? Oh yeah, the sweater".