© 2017 Committee to Elect Jeff Behrens

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Jeff Behrens

Edmonton Public School Trustee

Ward D

I am originally from small town Alberta. My wife and I moved to Ward D after we were married in 2011. We live on Jasper Avenue and work in the centre of the city. Our two daughters were born in Edmonton and our oldest will be in the Edmonton Public School System starting next September. It sounds strange to many people, but my wife and I made a conscious decision to raise our family downtown. We embrace the urban lifestyle and we are raising our family here, not only because we love cafés and food trucks but because it allows me to be independent. I am a disabled man. I am visually impaired and a good public transit system, tightly packed commercial areas, and a dense community of friendly Edmontonians allow me to be as mobile and independent as I wish.

Being legally blind comes with challenges, but my community makes me stronger. Now I want to make my community stronger in return. I am running to be an Edmonton Public School Board Trustee because I believe that our public education system lays the foundations of our community. School is where community begins. I want to ensure that our schools are inclusive and that all our students are empowered and inspired to reach their full potential. I know what it is like to face challenges that seem insurmountable and, more importantly, I know what a student can accomplish if their community provides strength, guidance, and love.

I am a life-long learner and an experienced instructor. I graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta in 2010, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and History. I went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Politics and International Relations from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I have now begun the research that will lead to my Doctorate. During my graduate studies I taught multiple courses and I have continued to lecture since graduation. I have always been fascinated by cross-cultural communications; my continued graduate research focuses on ethnic and religious conflict resolution. I study how communities are built and I believe establishing and maintaining healthy, inclusive, and vibrant communities is our most important responsibility.

I have practical political experience in addition to my academic knowledge. I worked for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in numerous non-partisan roles over the last few years, most recently as Legislative Assistant to the Capital Region Caucus. In this role, I developed strong relationships with various Edmonton-based community and business groups. After a brief stint as a stay-at-home dad on paternal leave I became interested in the possibility of public office. I believe we must strengthen the relationship between parents and schools; I believe I have the ability and drive to be the advocate who brings this partnership to a new level of cooperation and understanding.

What I enjoy most is spending time with my wife Chantelle and our daughters. I also enjoy the beauty of music, the fulfillment and challenge of authentic Italian cuisine and, although I can no longer play, I appreciate the strategy and focus of baseball. There are few things better for building bonds with the people around you than some good music, great food, and a baseball game.