I love Calgary. I love the vibrancy, energy and the everlasting pace. I love all of the activity this city provides us. I also love how easy it is to get involved and help improve it.

I’ve been very blessed over the past few years to be part of some great projects, which do that very thing. I’m active in:

  • the Winston Heights-Mountview Community Association,
  • the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance,
  • the Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts,
  • the Bob Edwards Award Luncheon,
  • PechaKucha Nights,
  • CivicCamp,
  • Reboot Alberta, and
  • Leadership Calgary.

I’ve had the pleasure of helping re-brand and build two theatres, the most recent being Lunchbox Theatre after their move to the Calgary Tower. I’m also working hard to help create Nuit Blanche Calgary, and bring a Poet Laureate and open data to the City of Calgary. Not to mention the time I spend on my blog and CBC Radio column where I get to talk about all kinds of initiatives that inspire me.

Most of these projects have been civic-minded in some way. I have even called myself a “civic advocate” – which is to say I like doing the kinds of things that make my city better.

Over the past year, friends, colleagues, and even relative strangers have been asking me to do more. Because of my civic-development focus I have been repeatedly asked to run for Alderman.

A year and a half ago I half-laughed when people asked. “Me? Surely there must be someone better.” I would think. Then as time progressed I realized people were serious and they really wanted someone like me, who was real and not just another stereotypical politician who cared more about ideology than what they thought, to represent them. I was flattered but still didn’t take the idea too seriously.

But as time has passed, and more and more people have asked me privately and publicly to run, I’ve begun to feel like I would somehow be letting them down to not do it. There is a real thirst for something different and these people really do think I can provide it; and they cared enough about it to approach me and say it.

It’s important to note I’m just a Calgarian like anyone else out there. I don’t harbour a life long ambition to be a politician. I love my life AND I see how poorly we treat our elected officials. But I do have an intense sense of duty and of right and wrong. I see many areas in our municipal government that can use fixing and I feel responsible to help fix them, both as an individual citizen, and as a community leader.

My friends and colleagues have worn me down by showing me the good I could do.

My wife, Christine, and I have talked about this for some time and we have decided that we are willing to make the sacrifice to help improve the City we love so much.

However, unlike every other candidate for public office I’ve ever heard of, I’m instead announcing that I will let my name stand for Alderman if YOU really want me to do it. You will have to be the one to decide if I run; I won’t decide for you. If you want me to run, you will have to make a sacrifice too.

I can’t do it alone. It takes a small army of volunteers to do a campaign right. (The only way I’d be willing to do it.) If you want me to run, we’ll need to run as a team. This team will need everything from doorknockers to organizers to fundraisers. I also want to know what special skills you might have which you think might be able to help.

If you want me to run, and are willing to help even for just a couple hours, please add your name to the list here: http://bit.ly/IWillHelpDJ.

If you are willing to make a small commitment to me, I’m willing to stand up and run for you. And I promise if you make that commitment, you will see all of the energy I’ve split across each of the projects I’ve listed above come together into the singular goal running for Alderman on your behalf. If you ask me to do this, I will give it everything I’ve got until election day and beyond.

If you want me to represent you, you have a role to play. If you’re not committed to playing that role, I’ll happily continue working on all the great civic projects I’ve got on the go. But if you think I can provide something better than what you see right now at City Council and in the declared candidates then let’s work TOGETHER to make it happen.

In 2009 Avenue Magazine said this about me: “DJ Kelly appears to be giving our stateside leader a run for his money as a community organizer. Like Barack Obama — Kelly brings passion and commitment to his cause. And that cause is making Calgary a better place to live. DJ Kelly is committed to the big picture — a better Calgary — through a more vibrant arts community, a more accountable political system and more transparent communication. And he is involved hands-on in making change.”

How “hands-on in making change” I will be is up to you.