Candidate for Russell Mayor
43 years old
1. What prompted your decision to run for re-election this time?
Well, I’ve been on council for the past eight years, four years councillor and four years mayor, and I have to say that I’ve fallen in love with the job. It’s become a passion. It’s, you know, a great way to give back to the community, and it’s a great way to steer it in a direction that’s best for our constituents. I think we’ve had a great, great run the last four years.
We were recently voted third best place in Canada to live, so I’m proud of that, council did amazing job, and you know, some things, it was council’s doing, some it’s just the reality of things, but it’s become a passion.
You know, I love doing the job, I love being out in the community, supporting the people whenever I can, to the point where I’ve even gone in the last four years I’ve gone ahead and done my degree in local government administration just so I could understand the other side of the table; so that when we’re having conversations and dealing with policies and bylaws and all that kind of stuff, I’m in the best position possible to understand.
2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?
For me, my key strength is being open-minded, flexible. You know, it’s not just black and white. I always compare running a municipality, it’s like doing a puzzle.
Unfortunately, the puzzle is continuously changing and you have to be able to adapt — so my ability to adapt my leadership skills, my experience in small business for the past roughly 20 years. It’s a very engaging position, a lot of little details … but you’ve got to be able to think outside the box, and you know I think that’s what we’ve been doing for the last four years, under my term as mayor, and I think that’s what we’ll continue doing.
3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?
Not necessarily issues but opportunities in my opinion. We’re currently doing two environmental assessments for servicing different areas of the municipality with water and sewer. One for more residential, one for more commercial industrial growth. So there’s opportunities there. You know, one of the environmental assessments the City of Ottawa has jumped on board for a possible partnership and servicing some of their areas, so there’s going to be a lot of negotiating coming in the future, and I think that’s an opportunity to benefit the people of Russell Township.
4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?
No, I just want to capitalize on those opportunities, I was speaking of earlier.
I think that what we’ve been doing for the last four years, I just want to continue building on that. You know, we’ve built a great foundation, communication-wise. We’ve been been open and transparent. I do council wrap-up videos on social media. I do live webcasts on social media where people can interact, ask questions out of the blue. So it’s it’s really setting that mindset that we’re open, transparent government and we’re there for the people, so if anybody that knows me or has ever had a question for me, they call me on my cell, text me Facebook Messenger me. I’m there you in a flash if I can be. So, no, I think we’ve built a really good foundation going forward, and it’s just continuing down that path.
5. How is your message being received during this campaign?
Very positive. I’ve been getting messages ever since I announced I was re-running. People wanted to volunteer, signs, all that kind of stuff, so it is a very positive message. I’m a very positive person, and I think people appreciate that. I think it just brings out that in other people. I think that, unfortunately, politics can get very negative, very quickly, and I always consider that old-school politics. We’re a very young municipality — the average age is 39 — so I think that people appreciate that it’s that type of mentality that we have, that I’m running on. Part of the role of mayor is to promote the municipality, and not put it down, so that’s why I’m proud to do what I do.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Russell Township. You know, I’ve had a wonderful four years. I couldn’t have imagined being in this position 10 years ago. I’ve fallen in love with the job … even fallen in love more with the community since I’ve been in this role, and it’s really thanks to everybody in the township that I get to do what I do everyday, and love what I do. So, thank you so much.
6. Voting begins on Oct. 17 — ironically the day of marijuana legalization. The new council will have to decide soon if your municipality will permit storefront cannabis sales, or opt out altogether. Should your municipality allow pot shops or ‘just say no’?
Currently very little information from the province has been provided to municipalities about the rules they will have available in their tool boxes to apply.
That being said, I personally think that opting out would simply allow black market operations to foster. They would leave areas that would see their profits lowered (ie: where more public access is available) and would concentrate on other areas where profits would be possibly higher (ie: municipalities than have opted out).
At this point in time I would be leaning towards opting in, however I would like to see the municipalities have tools available to maintain some kind of order (i.e: zoning, distance from schools, etc…)