By Mike Pearson, News staff
Stoney Creek resident Teresa DiFalco hopes to draw on her experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors when she takes on incumbent councillor Maria Pearson in the Oct. 27 municipal election.
“I have a long history of serving my community and the public. I decided to run for council because Ward 10 needs a strong leader, and a strong voice for the people,” she said. “I want to provide invigorated leadership and new ideas to Ward 10 and the broader City of Hamilton.”
DiFalco plans to consult with voters and release a full platform online in the coming weeks at voteteresadifalco.com. The municipal campaign will be her first run at an elected office.
“I believe it is important to include the issues and concerns of the people into my priorities and platform. The people of Ward 10 and other Hamiltonians, deserve to have their concerns addressed and their ideas respected. I am in the process of consulting with the people of Ward 10 and other Hamiltonians, and will finalize my priorities once that consultation concludes,” said DiFalco.
The 2013 Stoney Creek Citizen of the Year winner said her experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, has given her the skills required to build a consensus and arrive at solutions.
“I have vast experience in finance, operations, issues and conflict resolution, communications, stakeholder management, policy, process, and law,” she said.
“My past experience as a senior executive in the Ontario government has given me the opportunity to manage complex and difficult issues, work with all levels of government, and earn the confidence and trust of the public,” she said. “I believe that the people of Ward 10 want a councillor who will lead, solve problems, and not give up until there is a suitable resolution.”
DiFalco is publisher of The Hamiltonian, a local online news service which provides the people of Hamilton an outlet for citizen engagement. In May, DiFalco was named Citizen of the Year by the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce.
“I was very humbled to recently receive the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award. My work in the community helping others, has given me a strong foundation in understanding the challenges and issues within the community and the broader city of Hamilton,” she said.
DiFalco is currently among a group of residents planning to appeal the Fruitland-Winona Secondary Plan at the Ontario Municipal Board. If elected, she hopes to convince the city to adopt a previous secondary plan which was approved by a community liaison committee in 2009.
“As an elected representative of the people, I will continue to stand up for responsible and respectful development,” said DiFalco. “This (liaison) committee worked hard for many years and agreed to a plan. This committee included members of the public, city staff, planning experts, the councillors of Wards 10 and 11, and other stakeholders. It is important that we recognize and value the work of these people and the tax dollars that have been spent arriving at an agreed to plan.”
Despite objections from Ward 11 Councillor Brenda Johnson, the city’s preferred secondary plan was approved by Hamilton councillors earlier this spring. Critics of the plan have argued a target of 70 people and jobs per hectare would destroy the character of the community.
“I believe in problem solving and solutions. I would work with residents’ to carry their message and to ensure that ongoing concerns with the Fruitland-Winona plan are addressed and resolved. This would be my approach with any concerns or issues affecting Ward 10 and the broader city of Hamilton,” said DiFalco.
DiFalco is promising to stand up for what she calls “responsible and respectful development.”
“Responsible and respectful development are development efforts that fit within the community, and respect the needs and concerns of those who live in the community. I will continue to represent the interests of the community, and I will do the same for any community in Ward 10 as their councillor.
People must come first,” she said.
DiFalco believes voters in Ward 10 are prepared for change.
“As I consult with people in Ward 10, it is very clear that they are ready for a change. I’m looking forward to bringing my passion, enthusiasm, commitment and experience to our community and to the role of Ward 10 councillor,” she said. “In addition to brining my passion, enthusiasm, commitment and experience to our community and to the role of Ward 10 councillor, I will do this in partnership with the people who I will be serving.”
DiFalco, who isn’t openly endorsing candidates in other wards, is promising to work collaboratively with the Ward 11 councillor, whether it’s incumbent Brenda Johnson or a successful challenger.
“As councillor for Ward 10, I plan to model professionalism. In order to serve the public well, I will work with everyone in a professional and respectful manner, because this is how I always conduct myself,” she said.
DiFalco, who was born and raised in Hamilton, has lived in Ward 10 for the past 25 years. She is married to husband Cal and the couple has a daughter and one grandchild.