Susan Holt said she aims to bring her experience in technology and civil service to the legislature.
“I have an idea about the change in politics that I want to see, and I’ve developed the skills and experience to advance that change at the negotiating table,” she said.
Holt said politicians need to adapt to the modern political landscape by being more collaborative and open, holding public forums for policy development, and working with experts, researchers, and stakeholders.
The Fredericton South riding was created during the 2013 redistribution of electoral boundaries; if elected, Holt would be the first woman to represent the area in the legislature.
Raised in Fredericton, Holt moved away to work for several Canadian and international companies in the technology and IT sectors. Her resume includes experience with Xerox, Research in Motion – Blackberry, HP and Cognos/IBM.
Holt is a self-described “big proponent” of open data, and said her time in the tech industry showed her that change does not have to be a gradual process.
“You can develop an initial policy and try it, and learn from citizens’ experiences with it, and tweak it again,” Holt said.
She has served as a board member for several community organizations, including Harvest Jazz and Blues, the Playhouse and the NB Lung Association.
Holt said voters will find her to be “someone who speaks her mind”; she maintains a certain amount of independence, brings evidence and data to issues, and asks a lot of questions.
Holt has worked with students through UNB’s International and Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, the PondDeshpande Centre and the Loran Scholars program.
She said accessibility and affordability of post-secondary education, economic opportunities for young people, a diverse, thriving economy and mental health resources are the top issues that must be prioritized for young New Brunswickers.
Liberal initiatives to address these issues include the free tuition program, which was recently expanded for households with a combined income of $70,000 or less, the elimination of interest on provincial student loans and sliding-scale subsidies for middle-class students.
Following allegations from St. Thomas University last spring concerning unfair provincial funding, Holt said she wants to address “inequity” in the formula through a collaborative process with universities. Other local issues on her mind include the closure of Sir Max Aitken Pool and maintaining abortion services at Clinic 544.
“Right now the people of Fredericton South are not represented at the decision table, and I’m really looking forward to bringing the student voice of this progressive riding to the decision table and budget meetings,” Holt said.