Thank you for reaching out on behalf of Arnprior Pride and providing the opportunity to engage with you directly. I am aware of the important work Arnprior Pride has been doing within our community and want to recognize the local impact of your combined efforts.
Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Leslie Anne Hook. I relocated to Arnprior from Ottawa in 2015 with my husband David and our two children Brandon and Emma. I work in the social-impact field, supporting community organizations and helping individuals with lived experience find ways to connect and share their knowledge. My passion is human rights and social justice, I have been studying as a mature student at Carleton University and have a deep commitment to continued learning. When I don’t have an answer to something, I’m the first to admit it and will always take a consultative approach to leadership, relying on subject matter experts to help guide my decisions when needed.
I’m running for town council because now is the time to embrace new voices and ideas that will move Arnprior forward with many important decisions expected of council next term that will shape the future landscape of our town 10, 20, 30 years from now. Many residents I’ve spoken with feel that their voices don’t matter and have completely disengaged with our current leadership. It is my belief that a progressive new council will unite our town and restore trust that has been lost. My vision for Arnprior is rooted in compassion, collaboration and opportunity. Unfortunately, that vision isn’t a current reality for many of our residents and I hope to lead some important conversations at the decision-making table in the coming months if elected, that breakdown local barriers and foster a sense of belonging where no one gets left behind.
This conversation isn’t about me though, it is about Arnprior Pride and your desire to build more active and transparent partnerships with incoming councillors. I would be happy to learn more about Arnprior Pride’s local initiatives and can offer an enhanced level of communication with a personal commitment to compassionate, thoughtful responses to any of your future inquiries. My commitment is to play an active role in the local advancement of diversity and inclusion with a community-led, government supported approach. We need our local leadership to be approachable and willing to engage with all residents and organizations, not just some. I will be making it a top priority to spend time at community-uniting events and help our local non-profits advance their mission to serve our community. One simple way I can help would be to volunteer more with local organizations including Arnprior Pride. I hope to create a dedicated calendar of local participation in 2023 events and would welcome an invitation from your organization regardless of the election results.
I am also very mission aligned with the desire to make Arnprior a safer community for all residents, this includes LGBTQ youth and adults. I personally think knowledge-sharing is the key to building safer and empowered communities. Since my personal approach to relationship building often revolves around creativity, I think it might be a neat idea to partner with local artists to create an awareness campaign that introduces the community to Arnprior Pride through art. Also, having a background in grassroots fundraising, I would be happy to share some ideas with you just as an engaged community member should you find that helpful and point you in the right direction in terms of municipal grants that are available.
In closing, I want to acknowledge your question directly regarding the installment of the trans flag crosswalk that was originally proposed to council alongside the rainbow crosswalk. It is my understanding that the recommendation to council was to support both crosswalks at the same time but that didn’t happen and only the rainbow sidewalk was installed. I welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the impact this decision had on your organization and what it would mean to the Arnprior Pride Community to have a trans crosswalk installed. As a member of our community not currently serving on council, I do not have the full background as to why we arrived at this decision as to me it is in stark contrast to John Steckly’s recommendation that council should support and approve both crosswalks. I personally do not see any reason to object to this request.
My hope is that you will be able to see some immediate benefits and positive change that comes with the next council. I want to be part of the positive shift and you can expect me to always address your concerns in a compassionate and proactive manner. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I hope to serve the Arnprior community during the 2022-2026 term.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Leslie Anne Hook
Arnprior Town Council