Laryea to run in Uptown Ward 7


“When you make me feel that I belong, when you make me feel that I matter and that I’m important, I believe that you see a change of attitude and that will be my approach to students” were the words of Edwin Laryea just days after officially declaring his candidacy for Waterloo’s Uptown – Ward 7 councilor post.

Laryea is no stranger to the political game. In fact, the longtime Waterloo resident has dabbled in both federal and municipal politics. While this latest decision may have been trying for the former department head of languages at Bluevale Collegiate, Laryea is confident in his attraction to city council.

He said that the mere proximity of municipalities to citizens “ensures that you can effect the most change.”

Moreover, Laryea reiterated his desire for meaningful engagement and neighbour-to-neighbour collaboration for the improvement of the community as a whole.

As for his platform, Laryea would like to represent those “neglected sectors” of the Waterloo community, namely seniors and students.

On student issues, Laryea was critical of what he sees as the city’s tendency to view students as transient. According to Laryea, “even if [students] are in transit we need to understand that they are potential members of our community.” Further, he explained the need to create a welcoming community for students so that they feel that they have a stake and a responsibility to protect the environment in which they live.

As for the controversial issue of majority-student neighbourhoods, Laryea would like to experiment “with transferring the responsibility to the students themselves and working with them to manage and govern the rules and regulations, in conjunction with the neighbours.” Overall, he believes that such steps may help to facilitate an overhaul in youth apathy towards political engagement.

Laryea, who considers himself an expert on working with youth, said simply that young people must see themselves as being “valued”. “The apathy among youth is not because they are not interested in politics, he said, “but I don’t think we are selling them the right stuff.”

Laryea believes that apathy among young people is due to the fact that “they don’t see anything meaningful.” However, through participation and engagement, this is one thing he hopes to change.

“We all have something to contribute to the community and to the betterment of society” he concluded, “but we need to be given permission to do that.”

Laryea’s July 6 announcement gave Wilfrid Laurier University student Erin Epp her first dose of competition in Waterloo’s Uptown race.

The 2010 Waterloo municipal election is slated for Oct. 25. The city will be accepting candidacy nominations until 2 p.m. on Sept. 10.

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