As I set out to seek a seat on Township Council, my previous experience was – nil. In the past I had held positions of leadership, but these were never sought. This time was different. This was an actual competition. Or was it? It felt more like a camaraderie than a competition. This surprised me. As we candidates attended functions during the campaign, a strange bond was formed. Like veterans who experience the same battles, we were the only ones who really knew what it felt like: what it felt like to answer questions – on complex issues – without warning – in ninety seconds or less – with a timer ticking. We listened to each other’s opening pitch numerous times.
Near the end of the campaign, we joked that we could likely give each other’s speeches! Then there was the aspect of talking with complete strangers. This was a great joy! Each conversation was interesting and exhilarating. Each person (well, almost) was pleasant and receptive. I was constantly surprised at how eager Langley residents were to meet me and share their thoughts with me. I have lasting memories of warm conversations in coffee shops, quick questions on the street, personal and sorrowful stories on doorsteps and solving Langley’s problems with guys in garages. My only regret was that I ran out of time. So I resolved to do more of this, not as wannabe politician, but just as a concerned human connecting other people and learning from their perspective. Before the campaign, I was told by a few veteran campaigners, “Yes, do run for office! Win or lose, it will be a great experience.” Really? A great experience win or lose? I didn’t get it. I get it now!