Geraldine McMullen, Candidate for Ward 7 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018

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Candidate Details (top)

NameMcMullen, Geraldine
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2018
AreaWard 07
Email votemcmullen@gmail.com
Website http://www.votemcmullen.ca/
BioI’m Geraldine and I am a proud Hamiltonian. I was born at the Henderson Hospital 52 years ago and I reside on the Hamilton Mountain. My parents (Irish and English immigrants to Hamilton) taught me the value of civic engagement and Canadian pride. My immediate family is my husband Trent Jarvis and our children Alannah, Ryan and Daniel.

A large portion of my life has been actively dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for the folks who live and work in our community. The future of Hamilton depends on a powerful vision and strong leadership and your opinion matters to me.

I am a servant leader and began these skills in my teenage years when I joined army cadets, eventually rising to the rank of Captain and Cadet Commanding Officer. Recognized as one of the top army cadets in Canada, I proudly represented our country as an ambassador with a youth exchange program. I later joined the Cadet Instructor’s League (CIL) and achieved the rank of 2nd Lieutenant as a Training Officer. Discipline, teamwork and high personal expectations, the type of skills instilled in my work as a cadet, would serve me well at the council table.

I attended Cathedral Girl’s High School and, later on, Brock University, concentrating on psychology and sociology. I received Community Leadership training at Mohawk College. Through a Mohawk/McMaster program, I also developed a solid knowledge base in Labour Studies. I also completed a financial literacy facilitators’ certificate from Prosper Canada fulfilling the first step of one my passions, to educate youth about their future financial wellness.

I worked for over two decades in the financial services sector and have many years of experience advising on labour relations issues. Currently, I work for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario building relationships in the community as an outreach coordinator. I am a passionate advocate for others.

I was appointed to the Employment Insurance Board of Referees that heard appeals from those denied EI. Sometimes the cases were heart wrenching. I learned empathy and compassion, even when the law was clear, and nothing could be done. I got a different, real life picture of employment in Hamilton and in practical terms, I gained valuable experience reading and applying legislation and case law.

I was the Hamilton area lead for a countrywide “Retirement Security for All” campaign. We proactively worked to get commitments from the federal, provincial and municipal governments to make changes to the Canada Pension Plan and the Guaranteed Income Supplement that provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to Old Age Security (OAS) recipients who have a low income. A secure income for our retirees and pensioners is very important to the economic future of this city.

Extensive volunteering has always been very important to me. It has expanded my concept of community, broadened my contacts across the city, and provided space to work collaboratively on some major issues.

In the summer months I attend Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Lourdes churches. However, I also sing with the St. Patrick’s Folk Group, throughout the remainder of the year. My voice can be heard on two Christmas CDs produced to raise funds for food banks and various charitable organizations. I have participated in dozens of Christmas concerts and community fund-raising activities at multiple community venues and Long-Term Care facilities.

My sincere desire is to have your vote where I will earn your trust, work tirelessly for you, and bring stability back to Ward 7 leadership. I will not seek any other office if elected as your Councillor. Whether you are a homeowner, tenant, or business proprietor, you need to know that through your representative at City Hall your concerns will be heard. I want that too.

Hamilton is a growing community and it is an exciting time to be here. You want an inviting place to do business, a great place to live and a safe place to live and raise a family. So do I.

Ward boundaries changed this year and my husband and I live closer to Upper Gage, just outside the ward. I shop, work, exercise, in Ward 7. My family physician, dentist and eye doctor are in Ward 7. I worked for many years in Ward 7 in the financial sector including 17 years at FirstOntario Credit Union in the heart of the ward. I belong to the Royal Canadian Legion, in Ward 7. We go out for lunch and dinner in Ward 7. Our children went to school (JK to 12) in Ward 7. My mother and many friends and supporters live in Ward 7. We go to church in Ward 7. Ward boundaries are invisible boundaries. If it is important to the voters, I will move 900 meters.

I am committed to working with you and for you.

I would be most grateful for your vote on October 22.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Do you support the "Vision Zero" goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Hamilton? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy? If not, why not? Yes Yes, I support the premise of “Vision Zero”. I am interested in learning more about the improvements and investments necessary to achieve the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries. Input from the entire community is necessary and the importance of achieving this goal will need to be communicated.
Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not? Yes I believe its time to abandon area rating in favour of a more equitable method of taxation and use the area rating money to expand transit service across the city.It has been almost 20 years since amalgamation and Hamiltonians are enjoying a tremendous amount of growth. Growth, however, has brought an increase in demand on our public services, including transit.

In our current situation, transit is woefully underfunded, and we need to get people where they want to go and be affordable. And we need more investment for quality improvements.
Hamilton has been experiencing a slow-motion crisis in housing affordability. Do you support an expanded role for the City to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? If not, why not? Yes I would be supportive of an expanded role for the City to provide more affordable housing. I believe we do ourselves a disservice when we lack the full capacity to provide our residents with a place to live that they can afford based on wages earned in our city. Furthermore, if we are to be a preferred place to raise a family and age successfully, then we should have the basic means to allow for that in the form of affordable housing. Young people, single parents and seniors are most at risk in this regard.
Hamilton has a legacy of multi-lane, one-way arterial streets dating back to the 1950s. Do you support accelerating the conversion of these streets to two-way? Why or why not? No There is no need to accelerate the conversion of these streets. We should only do so when the associated infrastructure is in place to accommodate the changes, where necessary. Change should make sense and be thoroughly planned out, with business, community, and citizen input.
Council has voted dozens of times since 2008 to advance Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) project, including voting to submit the plan with a full funding request to the Province in 2013, and voting to accept full funding and implementation from the Province in 2015. Do you support completing the LRT plan? Why or why not? Yes I am on record supporting LRT on two conditions. One, if it is fully funded by the Province, and two, if it is supported by consistent, convenient and timely transit service connections from all points of the City. It is important to recognize that there is a cost to sustaining such a service; however, we need to be courageous and forward-thinking as we move into a greater vision for an inclusive Hamilton.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act mandates that cities must be completely accessible by 2025. What changes would you make to ensure Hamilton complies with this mandate? Yes As an elected official, it will be incumbent upon me, and Council of the whole, to ensure our future City Manager has the skill and ability to see this mandate and many more, through to their completion. We will also need to ensure our City staff has the information and training to comply with the AODA’s mandates and remain on track to creating an accessible city where anyone who has a disability has better access to our community.
Since the 1950s, most new residential and commercial development in Hamilton has been single-use suburban sprawl. Do you believe Hamilton needs to concentrate new development within the already-built area? Why or why not? Maybe Hamilton would benefit by considering many options for new development including the already built areas. New development must include affordable housing and easy access to transit, thereby reducing the need for car dependency.

While ward 7 is relatively well developed at this point, any new development would have to be specifically defined.

Solutions must be acceptable to current residents in neighbourhoods where any proposed development would occur as it could have an impact on taxes, residential satisfaction, and the potential for infrastructure over-usage.
Bonus question: If LRT goes ahead, what will you do to ensure Hamilton receives the maximum benefit? Yes Much of the work has been done on this file, through multiple decisions, over almost a decade now, made by previous Councils. Continued funding was promised by the recently installed provincial government. If the funding comes with specific caveats, then we deal with that when it comes. If the LRT goes ahead, we must, as a Council, act as one in supporting proposals that attract future funding. Supporting a majority decision of a board (Council) is the backbone of a unified request for funding from provincial and federal governments. Going rogue does not bode well for a forward thinking Council. As Abraham Lincoln once asserted, “a house divided against itself will soon fall”.
Global warming is an existential challenge facing humanity. Do you think Hamilton should play a role in addressing climate change? If so, what should the city be doing? If not, why not? Yes The City has partnered with Mohawk College, the City of Burlington and Sustainable Hamilton Burlington in the development of the Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk. The goal of the Centre is to develop real solutions for Hamilton and area in the form of business and community greenhouse gas emission reduction. This, in turn, would create a more sustainable future of responsibility in our use of the planet’s resources.
Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not? Yes Citizens are appealing for better service, and Hamilton is expanding at a rapid pace. We need to move forward, and I will hold Council to their obligation to follow through on an enhanced transit plan.

If we are to improve our deficiencies we need to increase our resources.

We are not keeping pace with the growth; we also need to immediately ensure that the funding designated for the third year be allocated and that the option of abandoning area rating be proposed and use the area rating money to expand transit service.
Should Hamilton be trying to attract more young people to live, work and start businesses here, including the 60,000 students studying at Mohawk College, McMaster University and Redeemer University? If so, what should we be doing? If not, why not? Yes Hamilton has a plan to attract and retain our young people here in the city. In many of our large employer areas, this effort is already in motion. We certainly have the skill to retain our own citizens and train them well; however, we need to enhance our efforts to attract young people effectively.

The international student populations at post-secondary institutions in Hamilton is also thriving. There are plans in place to increase this student population for years to come. These institutions are thriving as a result, and the global experience is transferred back and forth from international to domestic students, and back again.

In order for Hamilton to compete for this next generation and also keep our own people, we must do more to keep our stock of affordable housing. Hamilton is a great city, and we are attracting more and more people because of our vigorous arts and culture scene, it is this type of thing that makes Hamilton so attractive to young people and makes them want to stay.