Coffee With Calgary Mayoral Candidate Barb Higgins
I was shocked and surprised at the online response and reaction to a post that I did last week about Barb Higgins lack of social media use! This post ( link here if you want to read it) turned out to be one of my most read links ever. It really must be a testament to the candidates popularity or the demand that the public has to learn more about her political views. Either way, I was really shocked when I saw that Ms. Higgins left a comment and a Tweet ( yes...a Tweet!) asking to go for coffee to chat about this post.
After some buzz on twitter about this potential meeting, I set up a coffee with Barb on Saturday morning in my neighborhood. I was not sure why someone of Barb's stature would take the time to meet with a nobody blogger, but I was impressed with her initiative. Many candidates do not even read the Calgary political blogs ( at their peril....lol) and it is pretty rare to get a direct response from one of them, let alone a request to meet in person to discuss the blog post in question. I joked with Barb on Saturday that my wife said I should text her to make sure everything is OK, in case Barb was setting me up for a good old fashioned beat down for the comments I made in my previous post, which she thought was hilarious!
I must admit that in person Barb is quite easy to talk to and her looks are very deceiving. She is known for her bubbly personality and is quite upbeat, but in my opinion she really is one tough lady! Barb politely called me out on some of the comments on my post as she had a few issues with some of the things I had said, and wanted to make sure that she was able to tell me in person. Barb understood after meeting me that I am not some negative cave dweller that just slanders people and is cranky 24/7! I explained that most of my posts are sarcastic and that most of my regular readers ( all twelve of them, thank you....) do understand this. She figured as much, but still thought it was important that she set the record straight on some of the things in my post.
Barb really took issue with the fact that I hinted that she belongs to the "Mount Royal/Rideau Park" Elite, ( which in all truth, I was sarcastically referring to the area where most of her financial backers are rumoured to live.) Barb confirmed that she in fact lives in the Beltline and comes from a modest, middle class background. She humbly made sure that I understood that any success she has had was gained through hard work and the support of her friends, family and co-workers over the years. We even joked about her car when we left, as I complimented her on her Convertible, which she jokingly made sure I knew was a used model that is over 8 years old. I do believe that Barb is quite humble so I can understand why she was frustrated with my "Elite" comments.
Barb also confirmed that her Twitter use is in fact a work in progress. She explained that once she quit her job at CTV, a post she held for over 20 years, she needed some time to get organized after jumping head first into the campaign. She said that she wants to "do it right" and has been easing into the social media minefield, which really is a new medium for her. I can respect that as you want to ensure that you learn to use Twitter properly to its full potential. Again, I explained that the "great communicator" blurbs were aimed at sarcasm.
She confirmed again that she will be releasing all of her platform and ideas after Labour Day, which she really is sticking to. After this date, she anticipates a more interactive Twitter account ( although she is now following 43 people on Twitter, up from just 2 last week.) which is good news for Calgarians that want to learn about her ideas. I was impressed that Barb also asked me about my personal views on certain issues and she explained some of her vision and she seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. I am hoping to set up a video interview with her next month to chat more.
I am glad that I survived the coffee with my legs intact and that based on Barb's follow up tweet, she realized that I am "not a cranky pants in person"!