Andrea Kaiser, the federal Liberal candidate for Niagara Falls riding, says she understands what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet and strive to find a work-life balance.
With 30 years of experience working in the agriculture and tourism industry, Kaiser also has been a small business owner, served as a Niagara-on-the-Lake councillor for 11 years and taught wine business management part-time at Niagara College while being the single mother of two children.
Becoming a politician isn’t something she decided or planned on doing, says Kaiser, 49. Rather, “politics has found her.”
When her two grown children, Ryan and Madison Lepp, were teenagers, she left politics but decided to come back now for several reasons.
For Kaiser, good politics is about finding consensus and building a stronger community together, and she says she has a lot of success in bridging gaps and bringing people together.
“I was feeling a little bit worried about the way politics seems to be progressing toward negative rhetoric. Really unfortunate that politicians treat each other with such disrespect and I decided if things are going to change and be different, I might need to be a part of that.”
Although the Niagara Falls riding, which includes NOTL and Fort Erie, has been Conservative for more than a decade, Kaiser says in talking to people, she finds they are poised for a change and are excited about the idea of choosing positive politics.
With her core values always being liberal, Kaiser says the idea of being a compassionate leader taking care of youth, families and seniors also motivated her to return to politics. She also credits her daughter Madison, who’s an activist and a vegan, for inspiring her to be a better person and for looking for ways to protect the environment.
If re-elected on Oct. 21, Kaiser says the federal Liberals plan to increase the Canada Child Benefit by 15 per cent, make maternity and parental leave tax-free, boost the Canada Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25 per cent and to increase Old Age Security by 10 per cent for people aged 75 and over.
“It’s (Old Age Security) going to put about $700 in the pockets of seniors over the course of a year. And it doesn’t seem like a lot but it can make a huge difference, and some of the changes will lift seniors out of poverty,” she says.
Some of the issues residents across the entire riding would like to see addressed include economic development, affordability and transportation, Kaiser says. In NOTL, investing in infrastructure to allow better access to get in and out of the town and driving down Niagara Stone Road in peak season is what she says she’s heard a lot during canvassing.
“From my perspective, it’s on top of my list as far as where federal funding or federal investments might help to improve the quality of life here in Niagara-on-the-Lake.”
Growing up in NOTL, Kaiser says she has a “great understanding” of the community and she wants to ensure there is a strong local voice at the table in Ottawa.
“I think I’ve proven with my municipal politics that I’m prepared to do the work and, in terms of the way I’ve lived my life, I’ve worked hard and always worked to do positive things.”