Reporting for duty; Donna Skelly takes office as Hamilton Ward 7 councillor

News Apr 03, 2016 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

Less than 72 hours after being elected, Donna Skelly says she has let go any hard feelings from the intense campaign.

While the area’s MP and MPP campaigned against her during the Ward 7 byelection, Skelly says they all have to work together so she can’t hold any grudges.

“I don’t think it’s a wise thing to do,” says the new central Mountain councillor from her city hall office.

“I really don’t think anyone has any hard feelings. I certainly don’t,” she says. “I need Scott (Duvall) to talk with about things in the ward.

“It’s an election. People do what they do and now it’s time to move on.”

Duvall, the former Ward 7 councillor who vacated the position after being elected Hamilton Mountain MP last October, and Monique Taylor, the MPP for the riding who once worked in Duvall’s council office, sent a letter to homes in the run up to the March 21 election urging NDP supporters to vote for Uzma Qureshi. While not named in the letter, they were chiefly concerned that a split in the NDP’s Hamilton Mountain riding association would lead to Geraldine McMullen, who also had the support of some sectors of the labour movement, getting enough votes to keep Qureshi out of office.

“It creates a path for other candidates with ties to the Conservative party to be able to come up the middle and win where they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” read the letter.

Qureshi finished third, nearly 350 votes behind Skelly. McMullen finished sixth with 720 votes. The runner-up was John-Paul Danko, who finished 92 back.

Skelly, 54, had many detractors taking shots at her during the campaign: She’s a media personality who can’t do the job, she’s a Conservative in an NDP town, she doesn’t live in ward, she has no experience, she lost two other elections and would just warm the seat until she could get elected to higher office.

After losing two campaigns for a provincial seat under the Progressive Conservative banner, Skelly says she is no longer a member of the party.

She also says unequivocally she is no longer looking at higher office.

“It’s not a stepping stone,” she says.

Skelly says she will be running for re-election in the fall of 2018, adding with a laugh: “Along with the other 21 candidates.”

THE NEXT 3 1/2 YEARS

Don’t expect Skelly to quietly get her feet wet while learning the ropes as Hamilton’s newest city councillor.

“That’s one thing I believe how I will be different than my predecessor,” she says. “I will probably have a much bigger presence … a louder voice — ‘Over here, over here! — so that we are not forgotten in any of these big discussions that take place and involve other parts of the city.”

“You have to have a very strong, healthy downtown core, but you also have to remember that people, especially the residents of Ward 7, who pay the most in taxes and have the greatest number of residents, are also recognized whenever any of these multi-million and billion-dollar decisions are being made.”

Skelly says she will voice her opinion in a professional and respectful way.

The former co-host of CHCH’s Square Off debate show says that she doesn’t think her vocal approach will end up with her being alienated on council.

“It’s not going to be an attack on any other person or any other part of the city,” Skelly explains. “This is simply a way of promoting my ward and making sure that their concerns, that the residents of Ward 7’s concerns, are heard while these other decisions are being made.

“It’s not us versus them, it’s don’t forget we are the largest ward, we pay the most in taxes, we deserve to have a huge say as well.”

Expect to hear her promoting her No. 1 priority — Concession Street — this year.

“I would like to see it become the most vibrant commercial and retail destination it can become,” says Skelly. “The reason it’s a priority is that it’s something I can do immediately and I want to do immediately.”

She says she hopes to tap into the city’s arts community to help make Concession Street a destination and has talked to people who were key in the revitalization of Locke Street, who have told her that changing the facades of businesses and having unique business on the strip can be a catalyst.

The rookie councillor is going through the list of Ward 7 capital and road projects that are scheduled for this year and beyond and has already fielded a call about a paved-over sinkhole in a neighbourhood south of the Linc that she is trying to get addressed.

Skelly says improving public transit on the Mountain is a priority and she doesn’t want to see improvements put on the back burner while the LRT is being constructed in the lower city.

“A lot of attention, a lot of money is going to be going toward the lower part of the city while we roll out the LRT, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that people above the escarpment want and need better transit service,” she says.

DONNA SKELLY IN HER OWN WORDS

On her style

“I don’t think I’m going in with both guns blazing. What I’m going in with is perhaps — it’s my style … I’m not afraid to voice my own opinion but I will be respectful and professional. But I want people to realize I will not be a wallflower. When I see something I think is unfair, I will state it professionally. I recognize all the other councillors and the mayor have issues that they want to address and they are also very protective of their priorities for their wards, but I’m simply suggesting that I am not afraid to speak my mind.”

On her detractors

“They have every right — it’s democracy, it’s the free world.  You can do as much as you want in terms of engaging in your community. But what I’m suggesting is there is a very silent majority who go about simply going to work and aren’t necessarily engaged in social media. So I’m not sure that their concerns are heard and I’m not so sure that we think about the impact of some of the decisions and who is going to pay for a lot of the things that we engage upon.”

On her supporters

“I’m really grateful. I’m not taking this lightly. I respect each and every person who cast a vote in this election — and anybody who didn’t. But I hope more people get engaged in the political system.”

On social media

“Social media, especially Twitter, has become a playground for adult bullies … I don’t like it, I don’t follow it — I don’t engage in a conversations. I use Twitter to follow breaking news … but I don’t engage on Twitter.”

On winning solely through name recognition

“I don’t know how to respond to that. I have name recognition and I have also worked hard and I also have a message. I think it was a combination of those things that pushed me over the top. Your message has to resonate at the door … people would say, ‘It’s down to these three names’ and I would say give me 30 seconds to tell you what I want to do. And when I told them about my vision and what I planned to do if I was elected, that’s when they said, ‘You’ve got my vote.’ So my message had a huge role in my ability to win the seat.”

On not living in the ward

“I’ve lived across the city and I live on the (west) Mountain and I am going to be moving into the ward. I buy and sell homes and I renovate them and I live in the area for a while and then I look for another property. To move into Ward 7 for me is not a big deal and I am looking.”

Reporting for duty; Donna Skelly takes office as Hamilton Ward 7 councillor

No hard feelings toward predecessor for campaigning against her, says Skelly

News Apr 03, 2016 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

Less than 72 hours after being elected, Donna Skelly says she has let go any hard feelings from the intense campaign.

While the area’s MP and MPP campaigned against her during the Ward 7 byelection, Skelly says they all have to work together so she can’t hold any grudges.

“I don’t think it’s a wise thing to do,” says the new central Mountain councillor from her city hall office.

“I really don’t think anyone has any hard feelings. I certainly don’t,” she says. “I need Scott (Duvall) to talk with about things in the ward.

Related Content

“It’s an election. People do what they do and now it’s time to move on.”

Duvall, the former Ward 7 councillor who vacated the position after being elected Hamilton Mountain MP last October, and Monique Taylor, the MPP for the riding who once worked in Duvall’s council office, sent a letter to homes in the run up to the March 21 election urging NDP supporters to vote for Uzma Qureshi. While not named in the letter, they were chiefly concerned that a split in the NDP’s Hamilton Mountain riding association would lead to Geraldine McMullen, who also had the support of some sectors of the labour movement, getting enough votes to keep Qureshi out of office.

“It creates a path for other candidates with ties to the Conservative party to be able to come up the middle and win where they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” read the letter.

Qureshi finished third, nearly 350 votes behind Skelly. McMullen finished sixth with 720 votes. The runner-up was John-Paul Danko, who finished 92 back.

Skelly, 54, had many detractors taking shots at her during the campaign: She’s a media personality who can’t do the job, she’s a Conservative in an NDP town, she doesn’t live in ward, she has no experience, she lost two other elections and would just warm the seat until she could get elected to higher office.

After losing two campaigns for a provincial seat under the Progressive Conservative banner, Skelly says she is no longer a member of the party.

She also says unequivocally she is no longer looking at higher office.

“It’s not a stepping stone,” she says.

Skelly says she will be running for re-election in the fall of 2018, adding with a laugh: “Along with the other 21 candidates.”

THE NEXT 3 1/2 YEARS

Don’t expect Skelly to quietly get her feet wet while learning the ropes as Hamilton’s newest city councillor.

“That’s one thing I believe how I will be different than my predecessor,” she says. “I will probably have a much bigger presence … a louder voice — ‘Over here, over here! — so that we are not forgotten in any of these big discussions that take place and involve other parts of the city.”

“You have to have a very strong, healthy downtown core, but you also have to remember that people, especially the residents of Ward 7, who pay the most in taxes and have the greatest number of residents, are also recognized whenever any of these multi-million and billion-dollar decisions are being made.”

Skelly says she will voice her opinion in a professional and respectful way.

The former co-host of CHCH’s Square Off debate show says that she doesn’t think her vocal approach will end up with her being alienated on council.

“It’s not going to be an attack on any other person or any other part of the city,” Skelly explains. “This is simply a way of promoting my ward and making sure that their concerns, that the residents of Ward 7’s concerns, are heard while these other decisions are being made.

“It’s not us versus them, it’s don’t forget we are the largest ward, we pay the most in taxes, we deserve to have a huge say as well.”

Expect to hear her promoting her No. 1 priority — Concession Street — this year.

“I would like to see it become the most vibrant commercial and retail destination it can become,” says Skelly. “The reason it’s a priority is that it’s something I can do immediately and I want to do immediately.”

She says she hopes to tap into the city’s arts community to help make Concession Street a destination and has talked to people who were key in the revitalization of Locke Street, who have told her that changing the facades of businesses and having unique business on the strip can be a catalyst.

The rookie councillor is going through the list of Ward 7 capital and road projects that are scheduled for this year and beyond and has already fielded a call about a paved-over sinkhole in a neighbourhood south of the Linc that she is trying to get addressed.

Skelly says improving public transit on the Mountain is a priority and she doesn’t want to see improvements put on the back burner while the LRT is being constructed in the lower city.

“A lot of attention, a lot of money is going to be going toward the lower part of the city while we roll out the LRT, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that people above the escarpment want and need better transit service,” she says.

DONNA SKELLY IN HER OWN WORDS

On her style

“I don’t think I’m going in with both guns blazing. What I’m going in with is perhaps — it’s my style … I’m not afraid to voice my own opinion but I will be respectful and professional. But I want people to realize I will not be a wallflower. When I see something I think is unfair, I will state it professionally. I recognize all the other councillors and the mayor have issues that they want to address and they are also very protective of their priorities for their wards, but I’m simply suggesting that I am not afraid to speak my mind.”

On her detractors

“They have every right — it’s democracy, it’s the free world.  You can do as much as you want in terms of engaging in your community. But what I’m suggesting is there is a very silent majority who go about simply going to work and aren’t necessarily engaged in social media. So I’m not sure that their concerns are heard and I’m not so sure that we think about the impact of some of the decisions and who is going to pay for a lot of the things that we engage upon.”

On her supporters

“I’m really grateful. I’m not taking this lightly. I respect each and every person who cast a vote in this election — and anybody who didn’t. But I hope more people get engaged in the political system.”

On social media

“Social media, especially Twitter, has become a playground for adult bullies … I don’t like it, I don’t follow it — I don’t engage in a conversations. I use Twitter to follow breaking news … but I don’t engage on Twitter.”

On winning solely through name recognition

“I don’t know how to respond to that. I have name recognition and I have also worked hard and I also have a message. I think it was a combination of those things that pushed me over the top. Your message has to resonate at the door … people would say, ‘It’s down to these three names’ and I would say give me 30 seconds to tell you what I want to do. And when I told them about my vision and what I planned to do if I was elected, that’s when they said, ‘You’ve got my vote.’ So my message had a huge role in my ability to win the seat.”

On not living in the ward

“I’ve lived across the city and I live on the (west) Mountain and I am going to be moving into the ward. I buy and sell homes and I renovate them and I live in the area for a while and then I look for another property. To move into Ward 7 for me is not a big deal and I am looking.”

Reporting for duty; Donna Skelly takes office as Hamilton Ward 7 councillor

No hard feelings toward predecessor for campaigning against her, says Skelly

News Apr 03, 2016 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

Less than 72 hours after being elected, Donna Skelly says she has let go any hard feelings from the intense campaign.

While the area’s MP and MPP campaigned against her during the Ward 7 byelection, Skelly says they all have to work together so she can’t hold any grudges.

“I don’t think it’s a wise thing to do,” says the new central Mountain councillor from her city hall office.

“I really don’t think anyone has any hard feelings. I certainly don’t,” she says. “I need Scott (Duvall) to talk with about things in the ward.

Related Content

“It’s an election. People do what they do and now it’s time to move on.”

Duvall, the former Ward 7 councillor who vacated the position after being elected Hamilton Mountain MP last October, and Monique Taylor, the MPP for the riding who once worked in Duvall’s council office, sent a letter to homes in the run up to the March 21 election urging NDP supporters to vote for Uzma Qureshi. While not named in the letter, they were chiefly concerned that a split in the NDP’s Hamilton Mountain riding association would lead to Geraldine McMullen, who also had the support of some sectors of the labour movement, getting enough votes to keep Qureshi out of office.

“It creates a path for other candidates with ties to the Conservative party to be able to come up the middle and win where they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” read the letter.

Qureshi finished third, nearly 350 votes behind Skelly. McMullen finished sixth with 720 votes. The runner-up was John-Paul Danko, who finished 92 back.

Skelly, 54, had many detractors taking shots at her during the campaign: She’s a media personality who can’t do the job, she’s a Conservative in an NDP town, she doesn’t live in ward, she has no experience, she lost two other elections and would just warm the seat until she could get elected to higher office.

After losing two campaigns for a provincial seat under the Progressive Conservative banner, Skelly says she is no longer a member of the party.

She also says unequivocally she is no longer looking at higher office.

“It’s not a stepping stone,” she says.

Skelly says she will be running for re-election in the fall of 2018, adding with a laugh: “Along with the other 21 candidates.”

THE NEXT 3 1/2 YEARS

Don’t expect Skelly to quietly get her feet wet while learning the ropes as Hamilton’s newest city councillor.

“That’s one thing I believe how I will be different than my predecessor,” she says. “I will probably have a much bigger presence … a louder voice — ‘Over here, over here! — so that we are not forgotten in any of these big discussions that take place and involve other parts of the city.”

“You have to have a very strong, healthy downtown core, but you also have to remember that people, especially the residents of Ward 7, who pay the most in taxes and have the greatest number of residents, are also recognized whenever any of these multi-million and billion-dollar decisions are being made.”

Skelly says she will voice her opinion in a professional and respectful way.

The former co-host of CHCH’s Square Off debate show says that she doesn’t think her vocal approach will end up with her being alienated on council.

“It’s not going to be an attack on any other person or any other part of the city,” Skelly explains. “This is simply a way of promoting my ward and making sure that their concerns, that the residents of Ward 7’s concerns, are heard while these other decisions are being made.

“It’s not us versus them, it’s don’t forget we are the largest ward, we pay the most in taxes, we deserve to have a huge say as well.”

Expect to hear her promoting her No. 1 priority — Concession Street — this year.

“I would like to see it become the most vibrant commercial and retail destination it can become,” says Skelly. “The reason it’s a priority is that it’s something I can do immediately and I want to do immediately.”

She says she hopes to tap into the city’s arts community to help make Concession Street a destination and has talked to people who were key in the revitalization of Locke Street, who have told her that changing the facades of businesses and having unique business on the strip can be a catalyst.

The rookie councillor is going through the list of Ward 7 capital and road projects that are scheduled for this year and beyond and has already fielded a call about a paved-over sinkhole in a neighbourhood south of the Linc that she is trying to get addressed.

Skelly says improving public transit on the Mountain is a priority and she doesn’t want to see improvements put on the back burner while the LRT is being constructed in the lower city.

“A lot of attention, a lot of money is going to be going toward the lower part of the city while we roll out the LRT, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that people above the escarpment want and need better transit service,” she says.

DONNA SKELLY IN HER OWN WORDS

On her style

“I don’t think I’m going in with both guns blazing. What I’m going in with is perhaps — it’s my style … I’m not afraid to voice my own opinion but I will be respectful and professional. But I want people to realize I will not be a wallflower. When I see something I think is unfair, I will state it professionally. I recognize all the other councillors and the mayor have issues that they want to address and they are also very protective of their priorities for their wards, but I’m simply suggesting that I am not afraid to speak my mind.”

On her detractors

“They have every right — it’s democracy, it’s the free world.  You can do as much as you want in terms of engaging in your community. But what I’m suggesting is there is a very silent majority who go about simply going to work and aren’t necessarily engaged in social media. So I’m not sure that their concerns are heard and I’m not so sure that we think about the impact of some of the decisions and who is going to pay for a lot of the things that we engage upon.”

On her supporters

“I’m really grateful. I’m not taking this lightly. I respect each and every person who cast a vote in this election — and anybody who didn’t. But I hope more people get engaged in the political system.”

On social media

“Social media, especially Twitter, has become a playground for adult bullies … I don’t like it, I don’t follow it — I don’t engage in a conversations. I use Twitter to follow breaking news … but I don’t engage on Twitter.”

On winning solely through name recognition

“I don’t know how to respond to that. I have name recognition and I have also worked hard and I also have a message. I think it was a combination of those things that pushed me over the top. Your message has to resonate at the door … people would say, ‘It’s down to these three names’ and I would say give me 30 seconds to tell you what I want to do. And when I told them about my vision and what I planned to do if I was elected, that’s when they said, ‘You’ve got my vote.’ So my message had a huge role in my ability to win the seat.”

On not living in the ward

“I’ve lived across the city and I live on the (west) Mountain and I am going to be moving into the ward. I buy and sell homes and I renovate them and I live in the area for a while and then I look for another property. To move into Ward 7 for me is not a big deal and I am looking.”