hen Ryan Burris was deciding how to give back to his community, it was a toss-up between running for council and starting a not-for-profit affordable housing organization. “I thought I could get more done on council short-term,” says the 34-year-old stepfather of two about his decision to run in District 4 (Cole Harbour–Westphal).
Burris shops, plays, eats and does just about everything in the district, except for live there. But the community means a lot to him. “I’ve been in the area my whole life,” he says. “Everything I do, it’s based here in this district.”
His primary concern as a politician is affordable housing. “We’re in a housing crisis,” says Burris. “It’s a tough one for people, especially with the current pandemic, and it's going to be tough going into the post-pandemic.” He hopes to make real change in this sector.
Burris has several other campaign commitments he hopes to address. He wants to continue the traffic-calming initiatives started by retiring councillor Lorelei Nicoll, updating traffic light timing to better suit the flow of traffic. He’d also like to address the lack of supervised beach swimming available in the district. In addition to campaign commitments, this contracting company president and “high-energy guy” will try to bring a “newer” and “younger” perspective to city council.
Although this is his first time running for any type of bureaucratic position, Burris thinks his lack of formal political background is actually an asset, because what he lacks in political experience he makes up for with his contractor background and life experience. “It brings something different to the table.”