Jacob McGregor said that city council needs to shift their focus to the issues that really matter to Calgarians.
That’s one of the reasons the 27-year old University of Calgary graduate is running to be Ward 1’s next councillor. It’s a seat currently held by Ward Sutherland, though it’s unclear if he’ll run again.
Driven by his educational background in political science, his love for advocacy and his hometown pride, McGregor said he has what it takes to be the voice for his community and his neighbours.
“I grew very aware of how disconnected council seems to be with the actual issues that people have within their communities,” he said.
“The level of communication and effort that’s being put into local community efforts has gone completely by the wayside.”
Home field advantage
McGregor believes that through both personal and professional experience, he understands the issues of the community better than most.
“I’ve lived in the ward half my life,” said McGregor.
“I know a lot of people here; I understand the challenges we’re facing.”
He volunteered with MP Pat Kelly’s election campaign, and has been involved with the Calgary Ability Network. They’re an organization that works towards strengthening the community for persons with cerebral palsy.
McGregor described himself as a hard-working, team-oriented individual who understands the work it takes to make something good happen.
He said his personality and attitude will help heal a municipal government he thinks is divided.
“We’ve obviously seen that city council is very fractured,” said McGregor.
“In order to find solutions to the large and obvious problems that we face, we’re going to have to bring council together as a unit again.
“The more we focus on solutions, the more we will actually get done.”
Issues in Ward 1, Calgary
McGregor said the city has to shift how it looks at its finances.
“Whenever we hear about say, the budget shortfall, it’s all about the tax burden,” said McGregor.
“Instead of looking at new revenue streams to make money.”
He added that he will be advocating for the adjustments to the prices of commercial buildings. Calgary has been battling downward spiraling values in its downtown core.
McGregor said that some communities in Calgary, such as Bowness and Valley Ridge, are often overlooked when it comes to funding infrastructure.
He believes that the current council has prioritized the redevelopment of neighbourhoods such as the Beltline and Bridgeland over other areas of the city.
Like many of the candidates announcing early, a key goal is getting into the community to find out precisely how they see the issues.
Focusing on his ability
McGregor has always focused on what he can do as opposed to what he cannot.
As a person with cerebral palsy, he’s worried about others identifying him exclusively with his disability.
“I’m worried about being seen as the candidate with the disability,” said McGregor. “
As opposed to somebody who can get the job done.”
McGregor said that throughout his life, the more he interacted with people, the more they see his attributes and recognize how driven he is.
And he wants to break that barrier for others going through the same thing.
“I know the mantle that I’m going to end up carrying,” said McGregor.
“I would be very proud to have somebody with my disability look up to me as somebody who shattered a glass ceiling.”