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This article was published 1/10/2018 (755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A trustee with the Winnipeg School Division is hoping to make the leap to municipal politics.
Sherri Rollins, 43, is running to become city councillor for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry.
The Crescentwood resident said she began to consider running for civic office after being asked multiple times to step up to the plate.
"That’s a huge ingredient for me," Rollins said. "Then the thought process turned to some of what you need to run as a woman… You need support to run, so I started seeking endorsements."
Rollins has received support from organized labour, which she said was critical in her decision to begin a campaign, and the support of former Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry councillor Jenny Gerbasi.
The mother of three has served one term as trustee in Winnipeg School Division Ward 1, and said at the school board level it’s been her job to find solutions for parents left out of the planning process by the City.
"In Castlebury Meadows, no school bus and no city bus could turn around because the houses had been packed cheek to jowl," Rollins said. "If you can imagine a community where they didn’t plan around people getting in and out to work, they planned to prioritize the number of houses.
"This was literally one of the things that prompted me to run: communities where no school or city bus can turn around breaks the basic agreement you have in terms of city services and city planning. That story and the parent’s tears, I didn’t want to see anymore in Winnipeg."
Outside of her position on the board of trustees, Rollins is a policy analyst who has worked at the provincial and federal level for a number of years. She is currently on leave as special advisor to the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
At the municipal level, Rollins said she wants to see a fundamental change in the dialogue around social and economic development to include a more holistic approach to neighbourhood livability.
"Things that make the city livable like bike lanes, or traffic circles, were almost in isolation of the whole concept of livability, and safety, and positive growth," she said. "So being a trustee and being responsible for 33,000 students… it makes you think of a better future for them, and so wanting to run a campaign where the city was safe, the streets were safe, that our communities were safe and having that large concept, but guided by the parent who said ‘Please buy smaller school buses, because yours don’t fit on the road.’"
Rollins said her priorities for the ward include safety, an inclusive community, and investments for a stronger economy.
"I’ve been talking to people about the fact that we live in a capital city, and we need a good capital city plan. But to do that we need to start from a position of strength," Rollins said. "City council as a partner for making Winnipeg a city that is a good job creator is important. Whether it’s the arts sectors, city services, or fighting needless cuts at the provincial level, because you know as a ward councillor that a main employer in the ward is the health care sector, is manufacturing...
"That’s how folks in Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry make their living."
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
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