(Written for Town Crier Aug. 26.)
He’s running for council in ward 14, but Cullen Simpson says it took him 15 years to make the political leap.
Simspon studied business and politics and said his connections in government and in Parkdale encouraged him to run for years, but the timing was never right — until now.
Now his daughters are in university and he’s at the stage in his career that frees up time to make the switch to politics, he said.
“You need to commit yourself 100 percent to the job of being a councillor,” said Simpson, who’s worked in the office equipment supply business for 30 years.
The decision to run has him overjoyed.
“I couldn’t feel the ground,” he said of registering on Aug. 18.
He wants to see his community revitalized with thriving shops and infrastructure improvements.
Simpson was born in Parkdale, raised in Mimico and returned to Parkdale in 1985 with his wife to raise their family. It’s this part of the ward he knows best and said while other areas of the city are thriving, Parkdale isn’t seeing improvements and attention it needs.
“I’ve seen drug dealing in broad daylight,” he said.
He’s advocating for is a greater police presence, whether they’re walking, cycling or riding on horses in the community.
Simpson rhymes off tales from his neighbours about the lack of city response in resolving city issues. Calls either go unanswered or they get bounced around or no one shows up to resolve a complaint, he said.
“If the city is working as a team of elected officials, bureaucracy to commissioners, why would a homeowner have to do all the work themselves?” he said.
“If a resident makes a call and they aren’t getting satisfaction then they should be able call or email to a councillor and have the councillor fix the problem.”
“If I’m elected, they can call my office and I will deal with it,” he said.
Simpson has outlined his platform on his website.
Simpson’s among a field of 10 candidates, including incumbent Councillor Gord Perks.
“I’m not worried about the incumbent,” he said. “I don’t know the other candidates but everyone has their opinion of (candidates) they like or don’t.”
One thing Simpson said will help him with his campaign is 30 years of marketing experience coupled with connections he’s made over the years in the community and political realm.
“I want to talk to people face to face and tell people, ‘I’m the type of person you can trust to be there.’”