Community activist will run for city council
Josh Brandon plans to campaign on improved transit, poverty reduction
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This article was published 12/03/2018 (1838 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of the West End’s most outspoken advocates has announced his intention to run for city councillor this election year.
Josh Brandon, community animator of the Social Planning Council and Make Poverty History Manitoba chair, will run for councillor in the Daniel McIntyre ward, a seat which is currently held by Cindy Gilroy. Gilroy has confirmed that she plans to run for re-election, as well.
Although the campaign period hasn’t begun yet, Brandon said he will be busy gathering insight from the community and from colleagues with experience in politics to prepare his policies.
“It’s a new experience for me and I’m really enjoying getting out there, meeting people, hearing ideas, and also the potential of having a chance to put my ideas forward,” Brandon said. He hopes that if elected, he can continue to push for changes in areas such as poverty, transit and community safety.
“I’ve been working on poverty issues here in Winnipeg for a long time, and I just see how much that affects families here in this neighbourhood in particular, and across the city,” Brandon said.
“There’s so much more we can do as a city to help the most vulnerable people in our community, and when we do that, it helps us all. We build a stronger community, we come together more. It reduces those divides that have scarred our city for so long.”
Brandon moved to Winnipeg 10 years ago, before which he lived in Surrey, B.C. He said that from a young age, his family influenced him to participate in community building.
“I grew up in a single-parent home — my mom raised me. She was always a strong advocate,” Brandon said. “My mom was working as a teacher, and she got a layoff notice because of government restraint programs, so she got involved with her union.
“That really inspired me as a kid growing up, because you see… government programs, when they’re cut back, that can affect families really severely… But I also saw how my mom reacted, getting involved with organizing.”
Brandon, 45, said he later got involved with student activism at university, and has since made it his work to make a positive impact.
“I’m very lucky to be living here in Canada, at this time and place. I’ve seen a lot of benefits from that and I think there’s a responsibility to speak out when you see oppression, when you see social injustice.”
Brandon said he also hopes to represent, and borrow from, the young people living in Winnipeg.
“I think young people don’t really see themselves reflected in the city policy enough,” he said. “Young people who want the city to be somewhere they can continue to prosper in, continue to raise families in, study, work, build culture. Those are all areas that are really important.”