Beginning of Something Special


Remarks by RJ Aquino, OneCity's first candidate, at our election night celebration on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014:

I would like to acknowledge that we are on unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples.

Thank you so much for joining us here today. I am RJ Aquino and I ran for Vancouver City Council with the support of the OneCity team. I want to congratulate all of my fellow candidates and thank everyone who voted and made their voice heard. Voting, especially for young people, is so important for our city, our province and our country.

Tonight we are celebrating a victory. Tonight we are celebrating how far we have come in so short a time. This OneCity project only started a few short months ago. We wanted to build a political home for people who are being left out, people who are struggling in this city, despite its many advantages, to make ends meet.

We know working people and young people and single parents and families -- we are all under pressure. My wife and I have seen friends move away because they have lost faith, or perhaps never had faith, in a political system that should work with us and help us build the kind of city we can afford to live in. A kind city that we can live in and love.

That’s why we started OneCity, to give a voice to people and communities and to those values. And that is one of the victories we are celebrating here tonight.

We have talked about the things that matter and we have put forward fresh, practical solutions. For real affordable housing and child care. For paying people who work here, a Living Wage so we can put down roots and grow together. Innovative ideas for building a truly sustainable economy. And for putting our neighbourhoods and residents back into the decision making process at City Hall.

We have taken the lead on campaign finance reform. And we have tackled the kinds of issues that get people talking -- like beer!

We have put out these fresh ideas and people have noticed. The Georgia Straight and so many others endorsed not just me for City Council, but this whole project and movement. We built kindness and stories and people into a political campaign. called it “endearing, creative, a campaign that punched above its weight” -- like Manny Pacquiano!

But the end goal of this project is not this election. And so tonight we are celebrating what is to come in the next four years and beyond. I believe that together, with all the expertise gathered in this room, with your passion and your values and your willingness to work hard, we can continue to build this movement.

We can continue to engage people in politics in new ways. We can share our stories and our ideas and get involved in our communities. We can have fun and be inclusive and accessible. And most important of all, we can continue to listen to the many voices of Vancouver.

The victory I am celebrating tonight is that we set out to build a political home for people, and that as your lone candidate this time around -- or the "One Dude" as the Province called me -- I am at home.

There are so many people I want to thank for helping with that and I simply can’t list them all without missing somebody. But for me it starts and ends with family. JL and I met in this city, started a family in this city, and are building a community in this city.

Thank you. Thank you everybody for being here to celebrate the end of an amazing campaign and to celebrate the beginning of something special that we can all build together.

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