Michelle Bell looks for second term

Thank you to all those who voted for me in the last election and to all those who are considering voting for me in this one. City council has been a great opportunity and wonderful learning experience. I sincerely appreciate the support!

I am a proud mother of two school-aged children and have been in a healthy marriage for 18 years. I have served the past 2011 to 2014 term as a city councillor. I have a Masters in Leadership and a Bachelor of Social Work.

My interest for politics developed naturally working as counsellor/advocate for the past 16 years with children, youth and families. I recognized quickly that the issues faced by the individuals I work with are greatly impacted by decisions made from within government. Just as things happening globally, provincially and in neighbouring communities, greatly impact us locally here in Duncan.

I am interested in making decisions that look at all aspects of life; social, environmental, and economic in order to create balanced, positive social change. This is how we will achieve long-term sustainability! We cannot look at any of these issues separately as we are all interconnected. I am very interested in the linking complexities of all aspects of community well-being, and would describe my approach as a holistic, systems approach. I bring a health and well-being lens to all my decision making.

What issues concern you most and why?

Community is the interaction between one another. Elected officials are tasked with fostering and continuing to improve the culture that is created by the community. As each community’s needs and desires (culture) are different and always changing, we must continue to get direction from the community. I understand the importance of community engagement and building collaborative relationships.

The abyss between elected officials and the individuals they serve, is growing bigger. I believe this is due to lack of trust, and trust is largely built through accountability. With a background in communication and passion for systems, this is an area of particular interest to me.

My first term was focused on internal communication, as I believe we must always start by looking within our own structures. We improved our internal communication processes, developed and signed a council covenant, developed a working agreement with North Cowichan council as well as participated in joint council meetings, developed a respectful workplace policy, conducted a “temperature check” with all our staff and volunteers, and conducted a citizen’s satisfaction survey.

I facilitated a clinic at the UBCM around respectful conduct within local government, facilitated a workshop on effective communication to the Young Elected Officials Network (of which I am a member) and provided a conflict resolution power point to the Mayor’s Caucus.

If re-elected, I will focus on improving external communication and community engagement. There is still much to do by making better use of social media, undertaking more outreach and creating various opportunities for community to be involved. I will continue to work toward positive policy change around elected officials’ accountability, as they should be held to a higher standard.

I am a young, educated, working mother which is rare in politics. I believe I bring a logical and fair perspective and a much needed balance to the council table. I am a big picture thinker and I love people. I find it very rewarding to be an active part of social change.

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