Edmonton Elections

Getting to Know Erin Rutherford – Candidate for ward Anirniq

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Erin Rutherford was born and raised in Alberta. She has lived in Edmonton for over 20 years. She currently resides in ward Aniriniq with her partner Rob, and their two children, a cat named Olive and a dog named Clover. Her platform priorities include: supporting local communities, stronger communities, environmental focus and quality city services.
LCCMedia is grateful to Erin for taking the time to answer these questions.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve lived in Edmonton for over 20 years and currently reside in Ward Anirniq with my husband, two children, a cat named Olive, and a dog named Clover. 
 
Over my 15 years in public service, I have worked hard to drive change with and for communities. I’ve worked collaboratively with stakeholders to address issues like poverty and homelessness, and advance equity, diversity, and inclusion. I have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Human Geography and a Master of Arts in Community Development with my focus area being meaningful public participation in local government. 
 
Why politics?
 
It’s a really important election coming up. This next Council will make key decisions on how we face many of the challenges of today and how we build a strong Edmonton for tomorrow. I have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to step up and serve in a way that would support a strong and compassionate voice for Ward Anirniq.  
 Why are you running for council? What are your top priorities?
I have 4 key focus areas to my platform:
1. Supporting local. This focus area deals with how we build a strong local economy, quality local infrastructure, and recover from COVID. 
2. Stronger Communities. This focus area highlights my ideas to foster community safety, address affordable housing and homelessness, and make sure all voices are included, and strengths are leveraged to building a vibrant ward.  
3. Environmental Focus. We are at a time when we need to take bold steps in both waste management and a green energy transition. This highlights my ideas for how. 
4. Quality City Services. Let’s manage our money to ensure we have quality services now and into the future. I am a big champion of keeping public services public, over privatization which ends up costing communities in the long-run. 
 Why are you the best candidate for the ward?
I’ll work hard every single day to be a strong voice and champion for Ward Anirniq. This commitment is backed by the skills and experience to get the job done! 
 What happens if you do/don’t win?
No matter what happens, this experience has been an amazing learning opportunity. I am humbled by all the neighbours I have met in the ward and the passion they have for where they live.  I’ll continue to be active and involved in my community (Ward Anirinq) after October 18 regardless of the results. 
Can you describe your plan to tackle drug addiction and homelessness?
 Here are some of my platform ideas for addressing these issues:
    • Create development and zoning incentives for affordable housing options that increase diversity in housing options
  • Modify housing and homeless-serving systems for greater diversity and cultural appropriateness in the Housing First model
  • Ensure respect, dignity, and connection comes first in the City’s responses to homelessness
  • Work with other levels of governments and across sectors
  • Focus on prevention and harm-reduction strategies
  • Get serious about tackling poverty, food insecurity, mental health issues, and addictions at the local level and through work with other levels of government and proper resource allocation
Is there an issue you would like to talk about?
– How will you be an inclusive councillor?
I have worked to become an ally and advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within my career. I’ll continue to approach this work with humility and willingness to learn. Some of the ideas for inclusion within my platform include:
• Build relationships, strengthen connections, and grow capacity for community-led solutions that are co-created 
• Ensure City work is free from discrimination and is actively anti-racist
  •  Use engagements that value real, meaningful conversations, ensuring all citizens are heard and understood
  •  Provide opportunities for equity-seeking groups in decision-making

 

How important is climate change and what will you do to make sure climate justice is at the forefront?

Prioritizing the environment has never been more critical, and therefore, I’ve made “Environmental Focus” a key focus area of my platform. This next Council will need to work together to ensure that resources are allocated to energy transition such as retrofit programs and meeting emission reduction targets as a City.  
What books inform your knowledge?  
There are so many! Two that I keep going back to are:
Becoming an Ally by Anne Bishop, Thinking in Systems – Donella Meadows.
What do you do for your mental health?
I make sure to take time when I need to by having healthy boundaries.
I am energized by exercise, nature, good company, and time with my family. I always try to have a little of all of those in my life.
Share a quote or a poem that means something to you.
 “May your future endeavours be blessed with success” – an Ukrainian Cross Stitch that hangs in my office from my late grandma.
 
Where can we learn more about you?
Find out more through my website at www.erinrutherford.ca or my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/erinrutherfordforcouncil
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