18-year-old Ethan Mileikowski has lived in Glen Eira his whole life, and loves the local community. Passionate about well-developed evidenced-based policy as well as a kinder, more compassionate approach to government, Mileikowski is also one of the Mental Health Foundation’s 2020 Youth Ambassadors. This year he is running for local council as a member of Fiona Patten’s Reason Party.

I’m actually still a student in VCE, but my big reason running for council was because I saw what was a very quickly changing world. Whether that’s the climate emergency or whether that’s the health and economic crisis from COVID or the now ever changing nature of work, a lot is changing. And we have, not necessarily a conservative council, but they are very much an establishment which are stuck in their ways. I was concerned they were not going to change with it.

We’ve slowly become the council with the least amount of green open spaces in the state and for years it’s just been talked about and no one really does anything.

I think people of all ages are starting to notice we need to change our ways. With every new generation entering into the political sphere things do tend to change with it, I think that’s just the natural course. However, now more than ever we need a change in how we do things and how we govern.

 I’ve always seen myself as someone who is very firmly progressive but yet at the same time incredibly passionate about small businesses being cared for and the government being fiscally responsible. I think that’s something that Fiona Patten and the Reason Party are very much about. I think it’s also the two factors of how the [party] make decisions which is evidence-based and compassionate, and in politics we are desperately missing the latter in particular.

We need a business recovery package, several other councils have done it, but we have definitely left our businesses out to dry in the midst of COVID. Even before the COVID-19 restrictions, small businesses in the area in the area were not doing well for a long time, the lockdowns have just taken that further.

The slogan that the Reason Party are running is Commitment, Community, Compassion, and I think all three of those together are missing from local politics and politics in general. We need representatives that will be deeply compassionate and caring in the way they make decisions.

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on so many living in Glen Eira. With economic and health crises, it’s clear that forward-thinking, innovative ideas are going to be necessary to ensure that nobody gets left behind. I’m not just going to work for a better council, I’m going to fight for transparency, inclusivity, and will make sure that Glen Eira is responsive to the needs of its residents.

For more information head to www.reason.org.au

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