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It was more than a year before the municipal campaign of 2010 when Louroz Mercader decided to prepare a run for office. He knew he needed help and DiverseCity School4Civics fit the bill.
When Louroz started the program, he found a network of knowledgeable and engaged city-builders he could tap into. Among the group were experienced candidates as well as campaign managers and supportive staff available for advice and direction.
Louroz recognized he was a big picture thinker with a vision that would inspire others. But he lacked the skills to put this vision into action. “The program showed me the value of writing things down, how to create a plan,” he said. It also helped him tell his story or “articulate his narrative statement,” as the program describes it. “If I hadn’t participated in the program,” he admitted, “I would have skipped this important step that helped to differentiate me from other candidates.”
Running in the Mississauga election was the most exciting and exhausting time of his life. And it was through knocking on countless doors that Louroz’s commitment firmly took hold. “It’s in my bones,” he explained. He recounted an evening campaigning in an apartment building when he met two young boys, Philippine immigrants like himself who, coincidentally, attended the same elementary school that he had. The encounter was clearly a touchstone for him. “I wanted to make sure that these boys could have the same or better opportunities than I had.”
While Louroz acknowledged that he didn’t see himself as their role model, he recognized what his leadership could represent. “When we see ourselves in our elected officials it tells us that we are understood and that our issues matter.”