After 32 years on the political stage, veteran politician Russ Powers will step down next week when new members of Hamilton City Council are sworn in.
But the representative for Dundas will be passing the torch to someone he knows well — his longtime political assistant Arlene Vanderbeek.
She may be one of the newest members of Hamilton City Council but that doesn’t mean Arlene Vanderbeek is a rookie to politics.
Born and raised in Dundas, the mother and grandmother has worked for both the city of Kitchener and Burlington, was a member on the former Dundas town council and sits on numerous boards and committees. Vanderbeek is also the longtime assistant to outgoing councillor Russ Powers who played an active role in her campaign. His influence is evident in her own goals for the upcoming term.
“I’ve been here for a while I worked with Russ before that did his communications when he was an MP we were both on dundas town council together so the relationship with Russ Powers goes back a long way so the importance of that is we both have similar views on Dundas. But we’re different people and I’ll do some things differently.”
While campaigning, Vanderbeek says residents made it very clear what they want from their representative — a strong advocate that will fight to protect the historic, small town charm of their unique community.
That small town feel is very important to people here. And that’s difficult to achieve when all of a sudden popping up everywhere might be proposals for big multi-story condo units. It’s a big fear here. My election literature was preserve the past and protect the future of Dundas and that’s what I will be doing . My message and it will be my message for four years.”
We asked each of the new council members their stand on LRT. Vanderbeek said it was an issue that was raised often during the campaign. She says she wants more information about real costs and benefits before making a final decision about supporting the billion dollar project.