Councillor learns the art of listening
CRAIG Howe is happy to admit the past seven months have been a steep learning curve.
The Grafton High School teacher was elected to Clarence Valley Council in September last year and said he just wanted to preserve what the Clarence Valley offered.
“I didn't really have an agenda going into the election,” he said.
“For me, the important thing in local government is maintaining what we've got, and not going backwards.”
The father of a three-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son said he was managing to maintain a balance of work (teaching), council commitments, family life and sport. Mr Howe is coach of the Grafton Vikings.
“I'm juggling it well at the moment. It's really just time-management,” he said.
“Having experienced councillors like Ian Tiley, Richie Williamson and Jim Simmons has been very helpful.
“The support of my wife is also very important. She's the one who encouraged me to run.”
Mr Howe said he didn't mind the constant contact with the public (and their many complaints and suggestions) because it gave him a better perspective of what residents were thinking.
He said this was especially important when it came to making some of the bigger decisions.
“Something I'm becoming very good at is being able to put my own opinions aside and listening carefully to all sides of the argument,” he said.
“That way, I'm much better informed and prepared when it comes to voting.”
Mr Howe said there was still some way to go with bringing the entire Valley together after amalgamation.
He said there was still some animosity remaining from when the Valley's former councils existed as separate entities but believed that would improve with time.
“On polling day, one bloke walked past and yelled out: 'there's no way I'm voting for any of you b......s from Grafton',” he said.