I must admit that I feel a little embarrassed after all the wonderful things Mihalis Aretis had to say about me. That being said, we will manage.
When we, my collaborators and I, decided to introduce a portion of our candidates and mainly our founding declaration and municipal objectives, we wavered a lot in which way to do so.
Finally we decided on an event open to the public, and to take a risk in a large space such as the Foyer of the Theater. It turns out that the risk paid off. We dared and we succeeded. This is why I thank you very much for your massive turnout and for honoring us, both me and my collaborators, by attending our event this evening. Thank you very much.
Here I must mention that this welcome response to my invitation by a number of people in local government, for whom it is considered as personal transcendence, as political transcendence, and responded and showed up to this event is a double honor to me. And for this I think you all very much.
I intended on mentioning a series of various projects that changed the fate of this island that took place when the people that are here today and honor us with their presence were in office. However, I must respect their wishes, and I must point out that it was a common wish throughout, that no such mention will be made and this honors them even more. These individual had vision, they were creative and productive and did everything to put Lefkada on a track for development. We all recall, that in the 80’s Lefkada had nothing to do with Lefkada of today and we owe it all to you.
Today we send a message of broader consents, something that our island needs, beyond political roadblocks. We send the resounding message that our efforts are strictly in reference to local government. My personal pledge is that we will this follow through until the end.
I must confess that I reached the decision to put myself out there, under the microscope of the local society, as the Lefkada mayoral candidate after two years of thought and consideration.
My decision had three points of departure:
First is my love for our island, the love for our Lefkada. It was a conscious life decision upon completion of my studies in Greece and abroad to return to Lefkada, where I was raised, where I established my practice and where I chose to create my family. This same love urged me at the age of 35 to get involved in local government, and I was honored by my fellow residents when they voted me into city council, during Mr. Vasili Fetsis mayoral term, with whom I believe, we had a very constructive collaboration.
The second point of departure is my faith in the distinct and enormous prospects for the development of our island. I maintain a strong conviction. This conviction is that Lefkada has all the prerequisites as well as notable and capable human resources. With this it can acquire an identity, a compass, and its rightful place on the map. It is a common belief that Lefkada is blessed. A place of infinite natural beauty, strategically positioned, and with a history and civilization that dates back centuries.
My final point of departure has to do with my realization that I could no longer come to conclusions, following the downward spiral of our island, just observing all the things that were wrong such as the degradation of the quality not only of the environment in which we live, but also in our every day life. What I feared and still fear is the following possible question by my daughters, both honoring me today with their presence, “What did you do about this situation?” I want to have an answer. And obviously the faces of my children reflect all the children of Lefkada.
I must emphasize that these points of departure are not only mine, but are shared by all the individuals that make up this movement. These points are our common ground.
And now is the moment to move from ‘I’ to ‘we’.
We chose to take a stand through local government. Local administration is the basic designer and implementer of local development, in cooperation with local productive forces and the residents. They must deal with, amongst others, the challenges regarding the environment, culture, quality of life, social politics, and new technologies.
The upcoming local elections in May are held during a difficult political, economical and social conjuncture for our country.
This multi level crisis has cast its shadow on our island as well. We were not able as a society to set a number of common goals and the framework to claim them. In addition, basic unresolved infrastructure issues, with solid and liquid waste management being perhaps the most pressing, the deterioration and degradation of the natural and urban environment, as well as the explosion of massive and low budget tourism, are all issues that tamper with the image of the island and may very well jeopardize our future.
The current municipality was not able to convince or inspire active participation in the residents towards a common goal, they did not attempt or did not want to cooperate with other entities of the island, putting their ego first, being rigid, and rather preferring to satisfy petty party benefits.
Dear fellow residents,
Acknowledging issues and placing blame can only go on for so long until someone says ‘enough is enough’. And for us, that moment is now.
In view of the upcoming municipal elections, we decided to plan and propose a new course for development, in cooperation with local productive entities and residents, rejecting past practises and simultaneously changing mentality.
Today is a day of joy, a day of heartfelt emotion. We founded our party, as an independent local government movement of citizens, and not a result of political process or personal ambition, which aims to change the scene in the municipality of Lefkada, by proving that active citizens have the power to promote new ideas that are realistic and feasible.
We are here, because we envision a Contemporary Lefkada (Sixroni Lefkada).
Our logo, besides the title of our party, is comprised by two very strong elements to us. The one is the window to future, our eye on tomorrow, and the other, the exponent ‘It’s up to us’, emphasizes the enormous power we have as citizens.
But why ‘Contemporary Lefkada’ one may ask? Because very simply put, a contemporary municipality is the transformation of a digital municipality that uses new technology to fulfill its strategic objectives. It evolves into a municipality that is fiscally competitive, socially just and friendlier towards the environment. Contemporary Lefkada revolves around the individual and servicing their needs.
The time has come to share our vision and our municipal goals.
To get our municipality out of its fearful isolationism, following a trajectory that is extroverted and innovative. To dare to make a quality leap. To evolve our island into a place friendly towards its inhabitants, a place to LIVE. Let’s transform Lefkada in to the Green island, the island of Quality and Culture.
In the beginning of this effort we are setting these six municipal goals:
1) Every day life: Modernize our municipal services with the use of new technologies and eGovernment to offer contemporary and quality services to our residents and local businesses. Our priority is a civilized daily life.
2) Social Politics: Upgrade and extend the social structures of the municipality, with the creation of new smart structures for the primary care of all residents, and especially vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and the disabled.
3) Environment: Create contemporary infrastructures for a European Lefkada of the future and adopt regenerative systems of a circular economy, aiming to maintain the value of our local resources and minimizing the production of waste, while protecting the environment.
4) Business: Support local entrepreneurship and create the appropriate environment to attract private investments. Tourism and “Blue Growth” (sustainability strategy) being the spearhead, while the entire territory of our municipality will benefit as a result. Create an entrepreneurship office. Make good use of every possible tool that can benefit our society to satisfy the needs for development and employment.
5) Culture: Enhance and utilize the historical, religious and cultural heritage of Lefkada with the creation of archeological and historical routes. Committing 1,5% of the regular income of the municipality towards local culture, sports and other clubs to support their efforts and contributions. Because, a municipality is its people.
6) Economic Resources: Create a strategy plan to constantly and intensely claim financial tools and resources directly from the European Union, by utilizing individuals with specialist knowledge. Committing to utilize a specific percentage annually from the municipal income received from the marina towards future planning.
I am aware that some terms such as, civilization of every day life, new technologies, circular economy and blue growth, may not be familiar to everyone, however, we are planning in the next few months to discuss these topics in depth, to present them to you and to put them up for discussion.
It will all come down to the upcoming municipal election and by the potential we will show so that individuals with knowledge, ability and the will to create get to meet and cooperate with each other, beyond political limitations; one new collegiality which will speak up and more importantly act for Lefkada with vision and realism, selflessness, effectiveness and mostly with a communicative disposition. A collegiality that will motivate and will cooperate with all the powers that be. A collegiality that will form a new social majority.
Participatory democracy can actually occur in local government, and we don’t want to be on our own in this effort. We need and strive for an open dialogue with the people of Lefkada, Kalamos and Kastos. We want to become familiar with the needs and ideas of our fellow citizens so that we can co-develop the final agenda of our party. To literally co-develop it together. This is why in the upcoming months we will meet all of you, in town, in the neighborhoods, in the villages and online. We will be next to you. Now and in the future. Simultaneously, I am making a public call for alignment to all those who want to join more actively in this renaissance of our island.
Dear fellow residents,
Contemporary Lefkada (Sixroni Lefkada) seeks to be your conscious choice. As a result of this, the interaction and activation of the residents will form the foundations of change that we envision and need.
I mentioned the concept of a conscious choice. I want to emphasize that not only the individuals that comprise ‘Sixroni Lefkada’, but those of you that we hope will support us with your vote, make us your conscious choice, not a byproduct of past obligations or ‘little favors’ of today.
We are here because we stand firm. Because, we are united by a common love for our island. Because, despite our political backgrounds we can co-exist and cooperate for a better future, aiming the municipality towards the correct direction: neither left nor right, to take our municipality forward.
Thank you from the depths of my heart and I invite you all to give a good and clean election campaign.