Municipal elections in Waterloo Region will be held on October 27. With half a year to go until ballots are cast, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo has reached out to every mayoral candidate in the region who has officially filed to run so far. The deadline for nomination papers to be filed is Sept. 12.

Each candidate has answered the same five questions, and their replies will be reproduced. We start our series alphabetically, with Todd Cowan, the incumbent running for the mayoralty of Woolwich Township. 

1. What's the most important issue in your municipality for the next council term?

The state of municipal infrastructure, including roads and bridges, water and wastewater systems, is in significant disrepair across Canada. In Woolwich, our infrastructure deficit continues to grow and must be addressed before it becomes unmanageable and unsafe. 

During my first term as Mayor, for the first time, Woolwich introduced a special infrastructure levy to help combat this escalating infrastructure deficit. We, as a township, have also explored other innovative means for addressing this significant issue and we must continue to make investments in our infrastructure so that we can ensure the long term sustainability and safety of our roads and bridges for residents of Woolwich.

2. Voter turnout is notoriously low, especially in municipal politics. How will you engage voters?

Voters will become engaged when they feel they are included in the discussions.  Since the last election, I have engaged the public in discussions on strategic planning, business retention, uses for surplus facilities and pre-budget discussions. First we educate the public and then we can begin working to engage them.

3. What would you say is your biggest weakness? 

Lofty or overly-ambitious goals for where I see the township and a lack of patience for the progress to come to fruition. I have to keep myself in check when my timelines don’t match the reality of the situation.

 4. Who is your political role model, and why? 

John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was seen as an underdog in the early days.  He had a vision for his country in dealing with some major issues of the day such as segregation and Vietnam and also dealt with some major crisis during his presidency. He dealt with issues with a strong mix of compassion and conviction and was proud of his country and deeply committed to seeing it excel and prosper in to the future.

5. Forty years from now, how do you picture your municipality?

I see Woolwich Township as a leading municipality in the Region of Waterloo.  I see the Township holding on to its strong sense of community and cultural heritage while also growing and adapting to the exciting and promising future that the Region has in store.  We will continue to offer the best quality of life by remaining the best place “to live, work and play."  Despite our substantial growth and development, we will continue to respect the taxpayer by maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in the Region. Overall, Woolwich will be a growing, friendly and prosperous “Community of Communities” where residents will be proud to call home.