New Witless Bay councillor brings a lot of learning to the chamber (Details)

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Colleen Hanrahan has no lack of reading material over the next couple of weeks.

“The town clerk gave me a bundle of things to read, so, I have probably two inches of paper to read to figure out what the statutes are and what the policies and procedures are, so I’m going to be busy. So, for the next little while, I’m guess I’m going to be buried in paper trying to figure out what this role is,” joked Hanrahan, who was acclaimed to Witless Bay council on September 23, filling a vacancy that opened when Lucy Carew resigned this past spring.

Hanrahan is no stranger to politics. Aside from helping her husband, John Abbott, who recently ran in the Liberal leadership race against now Premier Andrew Furey, the registered social worker and non-practising lawyer also teaches political science at Memorial University.

And it was in the classroom that the idea to put her name on a ballot began to germinate.

“I’m teaching a course called ‘Law, Governance, and Public Policy.’ And I was talking in my classes about the legislation process and delegations and all those things,” said Hanrahan.

“I was thinking to myself, when I heard that the nominations had opened, that I’m trying to convince my students that it’s important to participate, so why am I not participating myself?

So, I talked to a few people I know in the community, who encouraged me, and I decided to go for it.”

Hanarahan said she’s looking forward to getting started, and has some concerns she would like to see addressed in the future.

“There needs to be a voice about some of the issues I see,” said Hanrahan. “There’s a lot of young people in this community, and it’s a great thing to have young people, because many communities don’t. So, we’re lucky to have a lot young people. Now, my question is, we do a lot of things for seniors, but what do we do for young people? What programming do we have for young people? There seems to be opportunities to think about that.”

Hanrahan said she would also like to see a town centre established.

“There’s no gathering place here. There’s no town square, there’s no central point,” she said. “With my husband’s election campaign, we would go to communities and look for gathering places. And there’s places for people to gather in other communities. But there’s no place for people to gather here and talk about what’s going on.”

Hanrahan said she would like to see more engagement between council and the community, and admitted there may as yet be issues that she is not yet aware of.

“I’m in the older part of Witless Bay, and I really don’t know what the issues are for people, say, in the new subdivisions,” she admitted. “So, I’d be interested in trying to find that out too.”

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