Final Listening Tour: Katie Hamilton, my partner

Today: The FINAL STOP on Scott’s Cambridge Listening Tour!

I will always be listening to Cambridge. Every day, I meet new residents at doors, we share some laughs and even some difficult issues and stories, and I hear about how to improve our schools, businesses, hospitals, roads, industries, and working conditions in our riding.

The more I’ve listened, the more I’ve learned about you. About us. About Cambridge as a community. And my promise is to always listen, and to ACT on what I’ve heard, for the good of Cambridge. There are still so many ‘stops’ that couldn’t happen yet, or groups and people I wanted to meet, but couldn’t yet — but I will, and it’s a testament to the diversity, size, and uniqueness of our riding. But I look forward to these future conversations!

That being said, there is ONE FINAL STOP on ‘Scott’s Cambridge Listening Tour’ and it’s my most important one: Katie Hamilton, my partner, wife, and mother of our baby son.

Now that the writ’s dropped, and the ‘campaign is officially on!’, it’s time to take what I’ve heard from you every day, and on every Listening Tour, and make realistic policies and action-plans that will set Cambridge on a better path going forward.

Running for office is tough, and having a baby is tougher. There is no-one in the world I love and respect more than Katie. SO:

Katie met Scott in 2006. After Scott pestered her over ‘MSN messenger’ for a few months (yep, remember that?!), Katie finally agreed to a date. They hit it off, backpacked Europe together, and decided to move to Ottawa in 2009, where Katie would pursue an MBA at the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa), and Scott returned to school as a mature student, studying an undergraduate degree in political science at Carleton University.

Today, Katie is a Management Consultant with a focus on ‘change management’, working with public sector projects. She’s a proud member of Soroptimist Cambridge, and is currently organizing the Dream It * Be It Career Mentoring Launch Event‘, a mentorship program for girls around Cambridge to inspire them to achieve their dream careers.

Now on maternity leave with her first child, I sat down with Katie for ‘Scott’s final Listening Tour Stop’, to hear her thoughts on Cambridge and the NDP campaign.

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1) We’ve lived across Canada and the UK. Why did we end up in Cambridge?

We lived overseas for a little while, but we missed Canada. We wanted a family, and we wanted kids to be raised in Canada. You won the ‘Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship’ in Waterloo, and I got a job in Burlington. So, we looked at houses in Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo…. But we fell in love with the house that we found in Galt, and we fell in love with Cambridge itself. And years later, here we are!

2) You’re a new mom! What’s the transition from work to motherhood been like?

I’ve slept the least in my life. I’m exhausted. …and I’ve worked 18-hour days for months before.

But, it’s extremely rewarding because it gives me such great purpose in life, and I’ve discovered an entirely new type of love with having a child.

3) When I first sought the NDP nomination, you were my ‘official agent’ and ‘campaign manager #2’ (behind our baby, my real campaign manager). What’s ‘our’ campaign been like for you?

I’m definitely learning a lot about Cambridge! It’s a unique, eclectic place with a lot going for it, and I’m excited to see it grow and change with new political representation. 😉

But – to be honest — It’s been difficult to have had to share you with your team and the ‘job’ itself. You’ve always been a hard worker, and you’ve always put sought to do your best with whatever it is that you’re doing. But it’s more difficult now at home, especially with time, because we have a baby. So, there are more important responsibilities around the house, and it’s tough. Your campaign’s been challenging for us, but we have been open with each other, and we’ve learned from each other. We’ll just keep supporting each other throughout the lows and highs of this experience.

4) What are the best / worst parts right now of having a partner running for office?

The best part is getting to know the community and being able to support more causes and people in need, just by virtue of being more well aware and well informed. It’s amazing how many people have approached you for help; how many people in our community need help. I also got to know a lot of our neighbours and small business owners, which really makes it feel like a community!

The worst part is think that, when you win, you’ll have to spend more time away from us. It would be interesting to see how other strong couples have kept their marriage strong throughout experiences like this. It can be done, of course, but it will take lots of work, and we’ll tackle it together.

5) Would you ever consider running for office yourself?

Ha! You betcha!! ‘Katie, 2019!!’ I’ll throw my hat in as an Independent, asap.

No, in all seriousness, I find it extremely important to support the community, and I already am through my two causes: Healthcare, and the empowerment of women and young girls. But I don’t see politics in my future.

6) Speaking of your recent initiative: What is ‘Dream it Be It’? How can women and young girls get involved?

Dream It Be It is a career mentoring program for high-school aged girls. It’ll provide girls with a mentor who has succeeded professionally and who lives in Cambridge. We have a wide variety of mentors from different career paths, and with different stories, so girls can get exposure and be inspired to pursue career paths they’re intrigued by, or might not yet know about. It’s about opening possibilities for young girls and women to reach their potential.

7) What message do you have for Cambridge residents?

There’s a lot of bad things that happen in the world, but I think people are inherently good. People generally want the same things. Respect, compassion, a roof over their heads… We need to teach young people, and teach each other, to think critically and educate ourselves about important issues out there, rather than rush to conclusions or judgements.