Angela O'Leary is a fourth term Hamilton City Councillor.
In 2007 she entered politics after a decade of small business ownership in hospitality.
Being young and full of enthusiasm back then, Angela found the endless policy sessions - accompanied of course by endless powerpoint slides - to be somewhat less than thrilling. Unknown to her at the time, those sessions would soon play a significant role in her political career.
It was 2013 and synthetic cannabis was legally being sold all over the country. Hamilton, like other cities, was experiencing an epidemic of severe negative effects and antisocial behaviour that was strangling local communities.
In April 2014 Angela turned to those years of endless presentations, and learned the real power of good policy making.
She led the development of the policy that empowered Hamilton to be the first metro city in NZ to close their synthetic cannabis stores overnight. Soon after, the Government responded and closed all stores Nationwide.
It was an intense time and the most challenging of Angela's career to date. Built on the back of that success, Hamilton's first Central City Safety Plan was developed. Today, other local authorities from around NZ visit Hamilton to see how they have been successful.
Angela knows that as time goes on new issues will arise that challenge people's right to public safety. United with that is the absolute need to look after vulnerable people, so no one is left behind.
Angela's work continues to build on the initiatives already in place in Hamilton.