Fredericton’s upcoming election brought multiple women into the running for office, which has only seen one female councillor over the past four years.
Current Fredericton Ward 11 council member Kate Rogers is running for mayor.
Rogers addressed gender challenges within council nearly two years ago, where she said improvements have now been made or are underway.
“I feel that table is much more ready to receive women than it had been,” said Rogers.
Kate Rogers’ daughter, Eliza Wolfe, is a political science student at King’s University and a former St. Thomas University student. She said her mother is best suited for the job regardless of her gender.
“She has a master’s in [political science]. She’s had a career in the non-profit and art sector and she is really dedicated to giving back to her community,” said Wolfe. “Not to mention, she’s been a city councillor for the past nine years.”
Another woman running municipally this year is Cassandra Blackmore, a student at St. Thomas University.
Blackmore is running for Ward 10. Her platform focuses on issues like affordable housing, supporting local business and increased resources for mental health.
She is the executive director at Fredericton Community Kitchens, which has given her first-hand insight into the issue of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in Fredericton.
“It’s something I do every day, so it’s something that I immediately recognized as being an important issue and something I wanted to help solve,” said Blackmore.
She said she entered the political sphere because she wanted to have a voice at the table.
“I just felt it would be a good fit. I felt I would enjoy the position, that I would work hard and that I would help create a better Fredericton for the next generation,” said Blackmore.
Rogers’ platform is threefold, focusing on health, vibrancy and affordability.
Amidst the pandemic, the city needs someone who can collaborate outside of city hall and into the community, said Rogers. She said her role within the Fredericton community and working for non-profit organizations has prepared her for the position.
“I think that women tend to take a more collaborative leadership approach,” said Rogers. “It’s all about collaboration. You can’t do your work unless you collaborate and when you look at the non-profit sector, a lot of non-profit leaders are women.”
Blackmore said times are changing and it is important to have a positive mindset. She wants to see diversity that moves beyond gender and said it’s important to have minority groups represented on the political stage.
Rogers said the pandemic and natural evolution of the city, along with her position as executive director of the Fredericton Community Foundation, has given her the skill set that Fredericton needs.
“I’m feeling encouraged by the support that I’ve received, but I also feel invigorated in that I know I have what it takes to do the job,” she said.
“If people want to see diverse candidates elected, they have to vote.”