In her own words: Duncan council candidate Jen Holden

Jen Holden -
Jen Holden
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My name is Jen Holden, and I am a 24 year old master’s student.

I have lived in the region since the age of three and my family has lived in the Valley for four generations.  As councillor, I will work with all citizens, business, and community groups to turn the vision of Duncan,  as one of the most resilient and livable communities in Canada, into a reality! S

o much community development is currently being done to achieve this vision and I believe that inclusive, collaborative and innovative leadership from local government is a vital ingredient to continue the growth and revitalization of our community.

An Inclusive Community:

I have a vision of an equitable community, where EVERYONE has a healthy quality of life. Duncan can be a place where everyone has access to affordable housing, sustainably sourced food, a vibrant local economy, and has a meaningful say in the direction our community takes. As a young person I wish to help facilitate the bridging of wisdom from the youth and  elders in our community. Youth need to be invited into the political process and I hope to be apart of this. My priorities include:

•    An affordable Housing Strategy/Action Plan

•    Promoting urban food production and regional food security

•    Develop a youth committee, with a intergenerational sharing component




A Community in Conversation:

I want to invite all citizens and stakeholders in the community to engage with each other in a meaningful, collaborative way. Council needs a new approach and innovative tools to seek out, process and incorporate public input. In developing these tools the City of Duncan has an opportunity to strengthen the democratic culture of our community!   My goals include:

•    Strengthening relationships with local businesses, citizens and community organizations

•    Develop a regional ‘Centre for Community Dialogue and Development’

•    Establish a committee/commission with the mandate to develop tools to meaningfully     engage the public

Innovative Planning:

Innovation will naturally flow from a collaborative process because when different perspectives collide they spark new ideas. These new ideas will not emerge solely from politicians and experts, but from the currently untapped resources within the community. When given space, resources and tools, a community has the best ability to create solutions for itself. My objectives include:

•    Creating an urban and neighborhood renewal/revitalization strategy

•    Establishing a sustainable economic development policy

•    Integrating community input into city planning

You may be thinking that these are ambitious goals; I admit, they are! My education in Political Science and Political Policy has taught me the limitations that exist to creating community change through politics, but my creative youthful energy and lack of 'experience’ always reminds me to not let these limitations limit my imagination, hope and creativity. This is why youth need to be involved in the political process: Our youthful power is not in what we know or have experienced, but what we do not know but can still imagine!

Non-profit Community Work:

Founding Member of Nanaimo-Cowichan Youth Council

Climate Change Advisory Committee, North Cowichan

Policy Development and Member of Red Willow Womyn Center

Indigenous Youth Art Empowerment Program Coordinator, NationWares

Governance and Vice Chair, Laurier Students Public Interest Research Group

Anti-Oppression Facilitator with Youth, Wilfrid Laurier University


Education and Training

Studies in Policy and Practice Program, Masters of Arts, University of Victoria (current)

Political Science with Research Specialization Option, Bachelor of Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University

Community Dialogue Facilitation, NationWares

Certificate in Community Innovation (LSPIRG)

Anti-Oppression and Consensus Training (LSPIRG)

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