Maggie Burton has announced that she will be running for a councillor-at-large seat in the upcoming St. John’s municipal election.
As young mother of two small children, Burton is currently managing six successful careers. She runs a small business while also working as an Educational Program Director, an Arts Administrator, a Leadership Coach, a freelance writer, and freelance musician.
Burton was inspired to run because she didn’t see anyone on Council with life experience similar to her own. She would like to see St. John’s become a more inclusive city and believes we need fresh perspectives on City Council to make it happen.
“The biggest thing that sets me apart is my life experience, I grew up in a low-income family and I’m raising two children … in the gig-economy. So affordable housing isn’t just words to me, it’s always been my life,” Burton said.
For Burton an inclusive city is one that prioritizes affordable housing and neighbourhoods that give people access to healthy options (i.e. walking trails, parks and green spaces) regardless of their income or ability.
“Everybody should have the same safe sidewalks, roads, and the same acceptable and affordable options,” Burton said. “It’s not enough to just have affordable housing, we need to improve the conditions.”
Burton’s life experience has also ingrained in her the importance of being able to balance a budget. She is committed to supporting diverse businesses and long-term sustainable development, which will grow the economy in a way that gives residents more opportunities.
“When it comes to fiscal responsibility, I grew up pinching pennies and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t good at that. I really understand how to manage money and how to make things work on a budget,” Burton said.
Although Burton hopes to bring a new outlook to problems that have been challenging City Council, she says there are a lot of issues that her the other councillors already see eye to eye on.
“My values are different than other people on council but to some extent we all want lower taxes and better parking. Most candidates, not everyone who’s running but most, want to preserve our heritage homes and most of us believe in climate change,” Burton said.
In addition to preserving the beauty of St. John’s by protecting its heritage buildings, Burton is also serious about improving our waste management system. Not only to improve the quality of life for residents but also to make the city more attractive to tourists.
“Nobody will want to come here if the city looks dirty all the time, and we don’t have a good waste management strategy right now. So we need to recycle more, we need to clean up,” Burton said, “We need to make sure everything looks good on the surface but also that the infrastructure is there to support that in the long run.”
As a musician and writer, Burton is passionate about bolstering our city’s artists. She believes that supporting the cultural sector will also contribute to more tourism and a healthier economy.
“From historic buildings to a strong tradition in the arts we have a lot of advantages and St. John’s deserves to recognized as one of Canada’s cultural and creative capitals, but we need more leadership to get there,” Burton said.