Why would a stay-at-home mom put her name on the ballot for Niverville town council?
Meghan Beasant says it was when she was reading of other Niverville residents who put their names on the ballot for Town Council, that she suddenly had an overwhelming feeling “that this is what I want to do. I couldn't really figure out why at first, but then I started thinking. I've spent the last year as the president of the preschool board here in town and that position, while it's been very challenging, I found it very rewarding for me to be part of such an important program in the town. I just had this feeling that I needed to help out in some way and so, I took it a step further and filled out the nomination form.”
Beasant and her husband have lived in Niverville for the past 10 years. They’ve started a couple of businesses and are raising their children there.
She says, “Like most people, life comes with ups and downs all along the way but everybody in this community, whether they've been close friends or just a neighbour down the road, they have all been really wonderful to my family.”
While both Beasant and her husband are from Ontario, not knowing anyone in Niverville at first and then now having the town feel like home, she says she’d “like to return that favour. I want to be that neighbour for them now. And I feel that the best way I can do that is to hopefully, be on town council and be there to represent them.”
Over the years, Beasant says she's watched Niverville grow. “It was already very fast growing when we arrived, but yes, in the 10 years we've been here, this town has just exploded, you know, both residentially and commercially. It's just really, really growing and there's definitely no signs of it stopping.”
Though Beasant has no previous experience in politics, she has done her share of volunteer work. “I was always volunteering for councils at school or community groups, you know and in various positions at churches and things like that. I'm a very social person in that regard. So I do very much enjoy being out there in whatever community I'm living in. But I've never, ever even considered being someone to be in politics at all. I'm actually someone who doesn't really talk about politics in general with people, just because in my opinion, it's such a personal topic. So, I'm definitely stepping very much beyond my comfort zone by doing this.”
Beasant would like Niverville residents to know that she doesn't have any issues with the current council. “I think they're doing an incredible job dealing with a town that's growing like this. I just simply feel that because I have basically existed within Niverville only since having children, I do feel like I'm that person that is among everybody all the time. I've been involved in children’s programs here for years and I feel like I'd be coming in as that ground-level person, that is just there to represent the basic small needs that people around town have been expressing. You know, because being out there I hear things like, ‘It would be nice if there was this...or it would be nice if that was that way or things like that.”
If elected, Beasant would be the first female on Niverville town council in eight years. However, she says that’s not the platform she is running on. “Whether or not I'm a woman, I'm not sure if that makes a difference about how good I'd be on council, but it definitely makes a difference more often than not that stay-at-home parents are moms. There are multiple stay-at-home dads here in town, but for the most part, they are moms and yes, since coming here, since having children, I’d say, I'm amongst the young families and, well, the people on council, I don't think that they're necessarily ignoring young families, not by any means, but again, unless you're living that life, there will always be a certain amount of disconnect.”
Beasant continues, “To fully understand what they are (young parents) looking for, look at the statistics. The average age of Niverville is apparently currently 32 or 33 years old. So, that tells me it's not just young people, it's really young families too, that need to be focused on.” She says, because of her own age, she feels she is already very much connected to many families in Niverville.
“I just feel very passionate about being there (on town council) to represent what they've been saying. to me. However, it's also one of those things that could be misunderstood as well. I don't want people to think that means I don't think older people belong on a council, because of course, that's not at all how I feel. It’s just that perhaps there needs to be a balance on council. There should very much be older generations on council, because how can we gain that wisdom? And I would never want to be on a council of people all my own age. That's not really a varied perspective. So I don't like to say, ‘Oh, I would represent the young families as though saying the current council doesn't do that. It's just that, I'm right there in it and I've been right there in it for 8 1/2 years and I'm not done yet because my daughter is only just starting kindergarten. I just feel very, very connected to the families of this town and I just want to be there for them the way they've all been there for me.”
Beasant has thought about what conversations she would start at the town council table and they would include building a public library, building more public bathrooms, and putting up more shelter and shade areas at recreation spaces and parks in Niverville. She would also like to see the town consider more paved walkways along the town’s water features for both the seniors and the parents with strollers.
When Niverville residents consider whom they should vote for in the upcoming Municipal election on October 26th, Beasant would like them to know that “this town is my world. My husband and I, both have our businesses based in this town. Most of our income comes from the people of this town. We live here, we work here, we shop here. We really do stay in town as much as we can. My kids use the programs provided at the recreation centre. I just want people to know that I really am a part of this community and I really want to be there for them, to make sure that they love this place just as much as I do.”
“It all sounds so silly, but it's very true, I really love this town.”