Ramara council candidate says she ‘knows how to get things done’
Dana Tuju is seeking election in Ward 3 of Ramara Township.
From OrilliaMatters, September 15, 2022
Editor’s note: OrilliaMatters has asked council candidates in neighbouring Oro-Medonte, Ramara and Severn townships to provide a synopsis of why they are running in the Oct. 24 municipal election. The following was submitted by Dana Tuju, who is seeking election in Ward 3 of Ramara Township. For more election coverage — including candidate profiles and other election news — visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here.
As a lifelong community organizer, I believe all voices should be heard. If elected, I commit to amplifying those voices and engaging them in the process of solving the problems they face, every day.
Over the years, I have cultivated key relationships with environmental and provincial organizations, helping people navigate policy and systems that are not always user-friendly.
While at Statistics Canada, I learned that sometimes people just need a friendly face and guidance to eliminate uncertainty in government. Other times, people need a fierce leader to fight for what is right. The important thing is knowing the difference.
Four years ago, I helped form a grassroots movement opposing a quarry expanding dangerously close to lakeside homes and sensitive wetlands. A few concerned folks around a kitchen table evolved into an official NPO representing 150 people! As the NPO’s research and communications coordinator, I became well attuned to the strategic collaboration required for this type of David vs. Goliath conflict.
High-stakes municipal issues are a long game full of ups and downs. Key factors are: energy, data, focus, and perseverance.
My current position on the Appeals Tribunal honed my understanding of Ramara bylaws and procedure. I presented multiple deputations to council, requesting speed limit reductions and Community Safety Zones. I mobilized concerned citizens to push against having their safe drinking water taken away from them.
I successfully rallied to include a forgotten neighbourhood in a broadband internet initiative. As a proud parent to autistic children, I served as my district’s Special Education Advisory Committee representative, advocating for neurodiverse children and those with other learning differences. I know how to get things done.
When several people approached me saying, “Dana, you’ve unofficially been doing the work of a councillor for a long time. We want you to run,” my first thoughts went to my children. How would running for office affect them?
When I shared the idea over dinner, the support was unanimous. My youngest said, “But, Mom — aren’t you already doing that job?” My children are my most honest critics — if they support this journey, I know I am on the right path.
As Ward 3 Councillor, I will apply my political fortitude to elevate the concerns of the most populated and community-driven region of Ramara. Imagine the good things we could do together, should I get an official seat at the table.
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