Kleywegt – Ward 7
WHERE THERE’S A WILL
I am the eldest son of Harold and Sophia Kleywegt; a Dutchman from Kingston Ontario and a Cree woman from Moosonee. Neither of my parents grew up speaking English at home. I speak only English but I’m very used to hearing an accent.
I have a degree in English from York University and Degree in Education from the University of Toronto. I also have a fork lift ticket, my TDG and a class 4 driver’s licence. When I graduated from school I worked part time as a middle school substitute teacher and I moonlighted as a truck driver for a junk removal company. The sum of both jobs wasn’t a living wage and I soon found myself paying rent with Visa and Overdraft. A cousin of mine saved my marriage by getting me job as a loader and blender of bulk chemicals at a plant in Edmonton.
Moving to Edmonton was the greatest risk I had ever taken in my life. I slept on a futon at my aunt’s place until I could save the money for an apartment of my own so my wife could follow me. I took the bus to Rundle Park, crossed the pedestrian bridge to the East side of the river, crossed the Strathcona Science Park and hopped a fence everyday for months until I could afford a car. Slowly I paid my debts and built a life for myself.
Years later, I’m in a very good place. Today I work as a Graduation Coach for Edmonton Public Schools, assisting Indigenous teens graduate High School and build lives for themselves. My wife and I own a bungalow in Norwood; I own a 1998 Honda Civic, and my wife owns her own business. Edmonton has been a place of great opportunity for me and my family and I am forever in its debt.
I want to live in a city that honours its commitments and faces the future with conviction and resolve. Since 2008, the City has set a number of ambitious and worthwhile goals for itself, including: creating more livable, efficient communities, growing in a financially and environmentally sustainable way, and eliminating homelessness. These goals were made with the needs and interests of Edmonton’s citizens in mind, and I believe they are still worth pursuing. However, we are not on track to accomplish them. Too often our leadership has been cowed by developers and the fear of change. I want this job because I still believe in our goals and I believe we can still accomplish them; if we have the courage and initiative to commit to the well-being of this city, its future, and its people.
What sets me apart is the depth of my lived experience. I have friends and family who grew up on reserve, who are recent immigrants and whose ancestors first broke this land with a plow. In the past 10 years I’ve been a middle school teacher, a junk truck driver, a bulk chemical loader, a library assistant and an academic councillor for indigenous teens. I understand a wide variety of lived experiences and I am able to work with anybody at anything. I will listen to you, I will respect you, and together we will get the work done.
My Core Principles
Edmonton is the City of Champions, not because we always win, but because we’ve got each other’s back when things go wrong. When people are endangered and parents are struggling to shelter their children, we are compelled to act.
My agenda is to work for you. For me a decision starts with listening.
When I commit to do something I follow through. Too often I’ve seen Councillors vote in favour of aspirational goals only to fall back on the easy path.
Edmonton has its own story to tell. As we grow it’s important that we preserve the parts of our city that tell this story. This includes our River Valley, Ravines and Natural areas. We don’t own these things; we maintain them for future generations.
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