Editor’s note: With the new Kingston City Council beginning its term of office on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with the new and newly-re-elected members of council so that we could share a bit more about the 13 people who’ll be sitting around the horseshoe for the next four years. Using the classic Kingstonist model ‘Six questions with…’ we present Kingston City Council 2018-2022 councillor profiles.
Heading into her second term on Kingston City Council, Mary Rita Holland is a Miramichi, NB native who came to Kingston in 1999.
It was her studies that brought her to the Limestone City. After completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton in History and English, Holland attended Queen’s University, where she obtained her Master of Arts in History, and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration. A life-long learner, Holland is currently a PhD candidate in Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s.
It was while Holland was first attending Queen’s that she took a job at the Toucan, where she “felt at home and earned enough” to get herself through graduate school. Holland also has past political experience, having served as the NDP representative for Kingston and the Islands and as the local NDP candidate for two provincial elections.
While she isn’t busy with all of that, Holland spends time with her daughter, Ailsa, 12, her cat, Cedar, and considers Ailsa’s dad and her dearest Kingstonian friends to be family. She is also close with her mother, father and siblings who live all over eastern Canada.
What made you want to get involved with municipal politics?
I’ve studied politics for a long time and was quite involved in provincial politics prior to running municipally.
I was drawn to the idea of working collectively toward improving everyday life for people. I like finding solutions to problems and feel good when I can help people on a daily basis. Politics seemed like a way to be helpful and productive on a larger scale.
What other work, if any, do you do? (Or what did you do before becoming a councillor?)
I’ve got a long resume… lots of graduate school work, teaching assistantships, research, bartending, serving, cooking.
For the past few years, I have been teaching a Health Policy course at Queen’s and working toward a PhD.
What is the number one issue you want to address during this term of council?
City-wide, the main issue is affordable housing. We need quality housing within reach for people with all levels of income in order to have the foundation and population growth we need as a city.
Will you vote in favour of moving forward with a ranked ballot in 2022?
In your mind, what is special about the district you represent?
Kingscourt-Rideau embodies community. People join together for events in neighbour’s yards, for sporting events, and all kinds of celebrations centred around togetherness, children, and food. You don’t need to look far or ask twice if you are in need; people look out for each other.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I spend a lot of time cooking and love learning about food. I knit. I like to hike as much as I can. My main comfort and joy in life is spending time with my daughter.