NDPer up for an uphill battle

[attach]4827[/attach]Willowdale NDP candidate Alexander Brown is confident he can unseat Liberal incumbent David Zimmer, who has held the riding since 2003.

While the riding has been a Liberal stronghold under Zimmer, Brown thinks the area is ready for a change. He hopes the NDP’s recent growth at the federal level will translate provincially.

“I’ve heard a lot of people saying you’re fighting an uphill battle and that’s okay, I’m up for a challenge,” he said.

“I think people are really looking at the party’s platform this time,” he said, noting that Jack Layton’s parting message of hope and optimism has resonated with the public.

Brown’s first foray into politics occurred last year, when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for school trustee. But he has long roots in community activism, which he believes qualifies him for the job. He chaired a community planning team in Hamilton, which provided after-school programming for children and support groups for single mothers.

“I think I can make a difference in terms of connecting to the community,” Brown said, adding that he’s helped communities become more engaged in the past.

“That’s not easy.”

As a teacher with nearly two decades of classroom experience, his focus, if elected, will be on education issues.

“I think the current curriculum is somewhat outdated,” Brown said. “We need to reexamine it and ensure that people are healthier and safer and that we’re properly dealing with discrimination and we’re being more inclusive.”

He currently teaches English to foreign students at a private language school in downtown Toronto. He has also taught overseas, working for the Osaka Board of Education in Japan.

Brown grew up in the riding but now lives just south of the 401.