Connie Gerakis wants to ‘be the voice’ for all Bayside residents if elected to local government

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You may not have heard of her yet but Connie Gerakis is set to take her first tentative steps into politics this year by running as an Independent in the Bayside City Council elections on Saturday, December 4.

With just days to go before the local government elections in NSW, we sat down with Connie to hear all about her career plan and aspirations.

1. Why have you decided to get into politics?

From a very young age I was always a strong, independent and hard-working woman. In fact, most people who knew me would call me a “tomboy.”

My mother was also a strong, independent and hard-working woman and she played a significant role in shaping who I am today and is the catalyst for the motivation in me running as a candidate.  She would never accept me whinging and complaining about things and would always say “if you don’t like it, change it… do something about it.” It became clear very early in my adult life that if I want to see change, I will have to be the change.

Connie’s mum has inspired her all her life.

I am now at a stage in my life where both my personal life and financial situation is in a good position, allowing me time to be available to help my community see the change and with their help be the change they want in their community. I have now taken this significant step to lead the charge in being the change and if given a chance, I will bring about a change in things I see lacking within my community.

I love talking to people and I find it incredibly gratifying to help them. I will make sure they feel heard and their problems are resolved.

Finally, I love where I live and the suburbs surrounding it. I want to see them flourish and become more safe and secure. I want my son and all the children in my community to grow up in a safe and happy area.

2. How does your Greek heritage influence your work?

Connie’s grandparents.

I was blessed to have been raised in a loving family by Greek parents and grandparents with strong Greek values. My childhood was filled with happy memories and many of them being the Greek traditions.  

My Greek heritage has influenced and shaped my life, my beliefs and the values I hold dearly today. These have made me the person I am today – strong, independent, hardworking, honest, kind and loving.

Growing up I was proud of my Greek heritage. Everywhere I turned I was able to find Greek influence, whether it be in culture, history, medicine, language, education, politics, art, architecture and so on. This played a significant part in my motivation to try and make a difference in this world, no matter how small or large the contribution was. How was I going to contribute to the world like my ancestors did, I would ask myself often?

Connie’s family.

Family is the foundation of my life. Every aspect of my life revolves around family. I love my family and everything I am today is because of my family. My mother was our family’s rock, she was and still is to this day my hero. She taught me the importance of family, friendship, community and strong Greek values and traditions. She also enlightened me to the fact that humans need other people and when people have strong support, alliances and connections with each other, you will thrive.

I have grown up in suburbs with substantial Greek community numbers and today I am blessed to have the opportunity to be running for Bayside council which also includes suburbs with large numbers of Greeks in these communities.

I am here to support and represent all races and cultures in my community and be their voice. I will be available for them at any time and be that person they can trust and talk to about their community concerns. In fact, I want my entire community both young and old to feel comfortable to talk to me about anything they like.

3. What are your plans if you are elected this year?

Connie with her son.

As a resident of this community, I have seen it evolve and grow over the years, and feel it has the need for improved infrastructure and services in relation to road and traffic changes (red lights and speed cameras in Brighton), noise control (including hooning), safety and security, park and street upgrades, cleaning, as well as maintenance.

Furthermore, with the significant impacts of Covid and lockdowns, a strong focus of mine would be in supporting local businesses and sporting groups. Our community has the need to move on with life and thrive again and I want to focus on organised community activities/programs for our elderly and kids that are based around interests and hobbies, learning new skills and simply having fun outdoors.

I am a successful businesswoman and mother and I pride myself in giving 100% in everything I do. I have a good reputation within my community and if elected I commit to giving them 100% as well.

I believe we need a new face in Council, someone who is eager to fight to get things done.

Connie wants to make Bayside a better place for all residents.

4. What message do you have for our readers and the Greek Australian community more broadly?

To my young brothers and sisters, even though we are proud Australians, I implore you to continue to uphold our proud Greek values and traditions in your everyday life. We as a community need to maintain our language, culture and values for the future generations.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Let’s focus on programs around family, community, culture, values, positive behaviour and improving our way of life. Let us plant the seeds of awareness, acceptance, tolerance, and help each other to be open and discuss ideas and share experiences. More importantly we as a community need to take action.

If elected, I will take significant steps to lead the charge in fixing and changing things I see lacking within my community. I will always look for ways to create, to imagine and to improve our community.

I promise that I will remain driven by the desire to work with you and for you to build an exciting, prosperous and sustainable future. It’s time for a change and I’m ready to put in the work for you.

On the 4th of December, Vote 1 Group A above the line.

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