As many of you know, before I entered politics, I spent 22 years as a journalist. I worked with employers and clients including the Toronto Sun, Vision TV, CBC, CHCH News, Chatelaine, Ryerson University and more — committed to keeping people informed about the issues that impact their lives. It helped me prepare for my role as Mayor in many meaningful ways and provided me with a deep appreciation for the value of transparency and communication from our public officials in upholding democracy and being accountable.
This blog is one of my favourite ways to keep you informed and ensure you know where I stand on the issues that matter to you and our city. It started out as “A Better Burlington” (abetterburlington.com) before I was a City Councillor. I was looking for a free and accessible way to share important news and issues with my fellow citizens. Over time, as my career changed, it evolved into what it is today: mariannemeedward.ca — a place where I can share information with you as often as possible, and always let you know “My Take” so you are clear on where I stand. It’s also a place for you to share your thoughts with me.
Of course, that’s not the only way you can stay informed or connect with me. I am active on social media, and you can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I often share information on events I am attending, local causes of interest, and newsworthy information about timely topics like road closures, living with coyotes and more. My goal there is to keep you informed on the channels you are already using so that you can be connected and engaged to City Hall and our community as easily as possible. Since social media is so interactive, you can – and often do – ask me questions there too and I’ll do my best to answer them as often and as quickly as I can (especially the tough ones!).
You can reach me via email or telephone if you have a specific question or idea that you feel is relevant to the Office of the Mayor. I am not always in the office as I’m often in meetings, at events or travelling, so my team does an amazing job of reviewing these emails and will frequently loop in other staff or departments at the City of Burlington to get you an answer as quickly as possible. I am updated by my team on a regular basis on those questions, issues and resolutions — and I get directly involved when necessary. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my telephone number is 905-335-7607. Occasionally, we may miss something due to the volume of emails and calls we receive daily, and I apologize in advance if that happens; so please follow up with my office or let us know if you have a time-sensitive issue when you initially contact me or my office.
I also still get letters from the community, and you’re always welcome to send me something through good old-fashioned mail as well, at 426 Brant Street, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Z6.
I also work with local media and have a great appreciation for their role in asking the tough questions to keep you informed through traditional journalism and other channels. I was, after all, on that side of the table for many years. You can read a monthly column I submit in the Burlington Post (online at insidehalton.com), watch my regular TV segments on our local cable station YourTV (Cogeco), and call in to Global News Radio’s AM 900 CHML each month and ask your own tough questions when I am a guest on the Bill Kelly Show (the call-in number is 905-645-3221 and you can find out more information at bit.ly/billkellyshow).
Since becoming Mayor in December 2018, I have done interviews with the Burlington Post, The Bay Observer, WEST of the City magazine, CBC Radio, snapd, The Globe and Mail, and CHCH News, just to name a few. I do my best to respond to media inquiries as much as my schedule permits to further share my views and connect with you in addition to all the other ways I’ve listed above. I share press releases with the media on a regular basis and participate in press conferences — and they, in turn, often share those with you in their stories.
My team and I work in close partnership with the broader communications team here at the City of Burlington. We really are a team and I’m thrilled at how we collaborate and find ways to leverage all of our channels to keep you better informed. From the Burlington.ca website to their own media releases and social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they do an amazing job and find truly creative (and often funny) ways to get important messages out there for you.
And, of course, you can often find me at community events and local shops on the street for even more ways to ask your questions and hear my points of view. I have more conversations than I can count when I’m joining our community at a charitable event, festival or celebratory occasion.
As both a councillor, and since becoming Mayor, I have received so many positive comments from the public about how much you appreciate and enjoy my monthly newsletters, social media posts, and other communications. It’s a busy job being Mayor and it’s good to know that the time and effort put into these initiatives by myself, my team, and our colleagues at City Hall is worth it for our community. Keep your feedback and questions coming. Hearing from you — the people of Burlington — is the most important part of my job.