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 his second term serving as the city councillor representing Pittsburgh District, Ryan Boehme is a born and raised Kingstonian, and has lived here all his life.
His post-secondary achievements include a diploma in Instrumentation Engineering Technology from St. Lawrence College, and a degree from the Royal Military College of Canada with a concentration in Political Science where he received first class distinction. He is also a journeyperson in Measurement and Communications.
Here in Kingston, Boehme lives with his wife of eight years, Jacqueline, and their three “wild and loveable” children, Isabelle, 6, Dominic, (4), and Alexa (3). The family has two pets: a beta fish named Dory Blueberry (which Boehme insists the children named), and a bearded dragon named Draco, who is a favourite with the kids, despite not being at all soft and fuzzy.
Boehme was acclaimed in the 2018 election, as no one ran against him, and he said he is honoured to serve a second term on Kingston City Council.
What made you want to get involved with municipal politics?
I have always been interested in politics from a very young age; around seven years old I recall following elections with interest. I was always involved with the student council in school and served as the Head Boy in my senior year, as well. I remember well advice my mother gave me at a young age, she stated, “If you don’t like the way something is, you have two choices: complain and do nothing, or get involved and work to make things better.” That statement has stuck in my mind ever since. I know people may not always agree with every choice made, but I do try and always will try to be involved with working to make things better.
What other work, if any, do you do? (Or what did you do before becoming a councillor?)
The councillor job keeps me very busy, however I also work as a Journeyperson in Measurement and Communications and I have been a volunteer firefighter for six years now. I also volunteer with the board of the United Way of KFLA and currently serve as the Chair of the Municipal Division. In the past, I was also a military reservist for about 10 years here in Kingston.
What is the number one issue you want to address during this term of council?
The number one issue is the lack of affordable housing. Growth and increasing the proportion of citizens that are engaged will help to resolve this. This is crucial, as we have an affordable housing crisis in our city and we need to develop creative ways to create and allow more affordable housing by engaging with and tapping into the collective knowledge of a majority of our citizens. With the Mayor being re-elected on a platform of growth with a very strong amount of support, I believe it is crucial that we engage the majority of the city on a strategy of growth to help alleviate our affordable housing crisis. This will also have the added benefit of increasing the amount of tax revenue the City receives, which will help to lower tax increases. This is an important part of making Kingston more affordable for all.
Will you vote in favour of moving forward with a ranked ballot for the 2022 election?
Yes, I will vote in favour of the ranked ballot. I committed to the electorate to honour the results of the referendum question on the ballot.
In your mind, what is special about the district you represent?
The most special thing about the Pittsburgh District is the people who live here. It is a truly caring community that is always willing to help out a neighbor, friend, or even a perfect stranger. The character and feel of this area is also unique in many ways and truly makes it feel like home. This is one of the reasons we enjoy raising our three, soon to be four young children here.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I enjoy playing soccer, hockey, doing construction projects around the house and meeting new people. However, by far my favorite thing to do is to spend time with and teach my children and help them learn to be a part of, appreciate, and contribute to our amazing city.