Young candidate puts name in race
Waterloo’s newest—and youngest—mayoral hopeful has some ideas to put students front and centre in this year’s election.
“The students are part of our ecosystem; we can’t just give them ‘here’s what you get, deal with it,’” said
Rami Said, the fourth candidate to put his name in the race.
At the age of 25 years old, Said is the youngest candidate to emerge so far. The Kitchener born, Waterloo raised candidate has spent his entire life in the region, even opening his own automotive business Autobahr a few years back.
Said believes that his age will be an asset to targeting young voters in Waterloo this year.
He believes that he is more informed on the topics that affect a growing student population, including housing, transportation and city-enforced fines.
“There’s a lot of fines that are going out to students that they really shouldn’t be paying and they are starting to get more and more expensive,” explained Said. “They’re basically getting milked out for all of the money they have.”
Fines such as noise and drinking violations often given out to partying students reflect an “anti-student” attitude that some previous mayors have held, according to Said.
When asked about the recent events of St. Patrick’s Day in the area, Said tried to look at the issue from the perspective of a student.
“The reality is the parties are going to happen” he said. “The fines to me, some of them are being ridiculous. I know people that at 11:00 a.m. they were just in their house listening to music and they got noise violation fines.”
Said proposes that the city create housing areas explicitly for student usage.
“Fining everyone just makes everybody mad, instead of working with them to try to keep everybody safe and happy,” he said.
When it comes to housing Said explained that students simply aren’t happy with five-person unit buildings.
A more dominant issue so far, however, has been the incoming light rail transit project. It was initially opposed by mayoral candidate Dave MacDonald.
As for Said, he believes that the LRT is good for the Region.
“The reality is that it will clear up traffic for the city,” he said.
Said’s competition will be MacDonald, Dave Jaworsky, and Erika Traub, who emerged earlier this year.
While Said asserted that “age is no more than a number,” he also acknowledged that because of the generational gap, he may be in a different position to evaluate the best interests of youths.
“They may not see it the same way we see it.”