My name is Alysson Storey and on May 1st I submitted my nomination papers to run for Mayor of Chatham-Kent. The question I have been getting the most since then is - why? Why are you running for Mayor? I’ll be explaining that on this blog (and to anyone who will listen… 😊) on a regular basis over the next five months. Please give me your feedback - I want to hear what you have to say. I want to hear why YOU love this community, and what you think needs improving.
But back to the task at hand. Why am I running for Mayor of this amazing community?
I’m running because Chatham-Kent made me who I am. I’m running because I love this community.
Why do I love this community? How much time do you have? :) For me, it’s the memories and the connections I have made to the great people and places that make up Chatham-Kent.
My first memories of growing up in Chatham-Kent are of field trips to North Buxton with my dynamic and dedicated nursery school teacher, Ms. Betty Prince Shadd. It was just a short bus ride away but to my young eyes it felt like a far-off adventure to a place filled with history unique to North America. Right in our own backyard.
From early childhood I have had so many wonderful experiences, big and small, that grew my love for CK. Eating apple fritters at the Green Door Bakery in Blenheim (after Eatonville, of course). Skating on the outdoor rink at McKeough Park. Delicious grilled cheese at the Plaza Grill in Morpeth (food features prominently in a lot of my favourite memories!). Joining Theatre Kent, or taking art classes at the Cultural Centre. Story time at the Library with those funky purple leather chairs. Playing volleyball or basketball in school gyms from Tilbury to Ridgetown to Dresden to Wallaceburg. Chatham-Kent provided diverse experiences that helped make me who I am today. Experiences like sailing classes on Rondeau Bay, blueberry picking at Pardoville, playing in the Kiwanis Music Festival and many more. Being from Chatham-Kent and growing up here gave me perspective. These experiences introduced me to lifetime friends, and gave me a life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It helped give me a strong foundation. It helped give me confidence.
About 25 years ago things started to change. Economically, things started to change. Socially, things started to change. And the way we saw ourselves and our home started to change with it. Business closures led to job loss. Job loss led to a decline in opportunity. The decline in opportunity led to a decline in morale, step-by-step, triggered by changing economic times. The end result has been a shrinking population. Families leaving for better opportunities. Our youth leaving with no plans to return.
We need to build a place where people dream of staying, not leaving. Where businesses open, not close. Where people feel heard, not ignored. Where our communities come together, not pull apart. A place where communication and collaboration thrive, and negativity withers. Proactive, not reactive. Doors are opened instead of slammed shut. A place that champions expertise not silences it. A place that respects diversity and equality. A place that is a true reflection of who we want to be.
I’m excited to help lead the way to a better future for all of us. But I need your help. If we work together, and listen to each other, there is nothing we can’t achieve.
The wait is over.
It’s our time.