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On the phone with political veteran Becky Kent, District 3

“I love people,” says the former councillor and MLA, “I like to help.”

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She’s been a councillor. She’s been a provincial MLA. Now, after being away from the political scene since 2013, Becky Kent says she’s ready now more than ever to make a comeback. That’s why she is excited to be running for council again this election, as a candidate for District 3 (Dartmouth South–Eastern Passage).

During her time away from politics, Kent focused on not-for-profit work and her job as provincial coordinator of Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, an organization which provides shelter and transitional services to women (and their children) experiencing violence and abuse, at 13 locations across Nova Scotia. Both are things she's since become extremely passionate about.

“I started to realize that where my energy and passion is, is in my community, lifting up people's lives,” says Kent. “I’m ready now to put all that experience and knowledge, and my passion for community advocacy, to really build a better and strong Halifax. I’m ready to do it again.”

Kent, 57, started her political journey in 2004, when she was elected as a municipal councillor for the Eastern Passage district. She made the leap into provincial politics in 2007, winning a by-election in the Cole Harbour—Eastern Passage riding with the NDP. She was re-elected by a wide margin in 2009, but then lost a tight race to Liberal Joyce Treen in the 2013 election that brought Stephen McNeil’s Liberals to power.

Kent says this time around she's just as passionate as ever, which reflects heavily in her campaign commitments. “I love helping and building communities up. I want people to be successful, and the more I hear about the things that they struggle with or that they want to do, the more fired up I am.”

On her long list of campaign priorities, Kent’s top commitment is to help families recovering from COVID-19. She says when it comes to the municipality finding ways to financially recuperate from the damage done by the virus, “it can’t be on the backs of those who are already struggling,” and “it has to be a balanced approach.”

Kent would also like to see more focus put into addressing affordable housing and homelessness. “Traditionally municipalities have had limited capacities to have an impact on that, but we do through land-use by-laws, through housing development approvals and such. I want to really push council to look harder. We can effect change in that area.”

And last but certainly not least, Kent says she would like to ensure proper support is available for those suffering from domestic abuse, as well as promoting women in leadership roles. “I will always look through a lens of female perspective,” she says. “I want to be a role model that shows that you can be effective and that policy making can come from that view, and it's time we did.”

Kent believes that making change is a collaborative effort between council, constituents and the community, especially when it comes to things like controlling crime. She says that working collaboratively “will help change the trajectory of crime in our community, and I feel like we've gotten away from that. It’s time to bring that back.”

Kent says she’s been an effective councillor in the past and her knowledge of two levels of government will really benefit her when it comes to being on council. “I love people. I like to help. My accessibility and knowledge of how to help people problem solve—that's strong, so I think that will be something that's attractive to the voter.”

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