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New Port Saunders councillor hopes to encourage more young people to get involved in municipal politics

Carly House of Port Saunders decided to run for town council in hopes of bringing a new perspective. The 24-year-old hopes her win will encourage other young Newfoundland and Labradorians to take more responsibility for the future of their communities.
Carly House of Port Saunders decided to run for town council in hopes of bringing a new perspective. The 24-year-old hopes her win will encourage other young Newfoundland and Labradorians to take more responsibility for the future of their communities.

PORT SAUNDERS, NL – With the highest number of votes, 24-year-old Carly House was shocked to see herself win the deputy mayor spot on Port Saunders town council.

House’s bid for office came from her desire to bring a new perspective to council and to encourage other Newfoundlanders of her generation.

“We need the younger generation to get involved in politics around here,” House said. “Maybe if someone sees that I could do it, they’d be willing to put their names forward and give that spark to the community.”

House was born in Port Saunders. Upon graduating this May, she started her career as a nurse at the Rufus Guinchard Health Centre. With a declining population facing Port Saunders, as in many areas of the province, House wants to change the perception among many young people that there is little future for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

“I want to change that perspective and keep the younger generation here,” she said.

With this thought in mind, House sees her new role on council as crucial to put the needs of her generation to the table.

“The youngest person on council last year was 46, I believe,” she said. “So just having someone there being younger with a fresh set of eyes could help us see what each generation needs and change a few things for the community.”

One of her main goals is to encourage development and incentives to keep young people in Port Saunders, and influence others to return home.

“There are lots of people who have moved away and would love to come home,” House said. “It’s just that when they get here, their needs aren’t met.”

Despite her lack of political experience, House’s bid for office was met with lots of positive feedback. Still, she did not expect to win the most votes with 126 and earn herself the position of deputy mayor.

While the first council meeting has yet to take place, House plans to first and foremost get into the groove of council and gain a sense of what is most important on the town’s agenda.

While Port Saunders has facilities like a hospital, school, pharmacy and grocery store, House says the town has still seen a lot of population decline, particularly in the past two years. She hopes above all to show that young people have to take more responsibility in ensuring the survival of Newfoundland and Labrador’s rural communities.

“The older generation is going to soon be in a place where they’re going to have to move on from these roles,” House said. “Younger people need to get involved and start stepping in.

“If we don’t start now, when are we going to start?”

kyle.greenham@northernpen.ca

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