Kitchener South-Hespeler Conservatives tap Alan Keeso for federal election

Conservatives in the riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler have chosen Alan Keeso to run as their candidate in the next federal election.

Federal election scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019

Alan Keeso will run for the Conservatives in the riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler in the next federal election. (Submitted photo)

Alan Keeso will represent the Conservatives in the riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler in the next federal election.

He won the nomination Tuesday night, beating small business owner Marian Gagne for the nomination.

Keeso is familiar with Conservatives for his work on MPP Amy Fee's campaign during the provincial election.

He grew up in Listowel and has served as a reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Keeso moved to Waterloo region about two years ago. This past spring, he moved into Kitchener.

Keeso will be up against current Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara, who has indicated he will seek reelection. Tabbara congratulated Keeso on his party constituency win.

"I look forward to meeting him and discussing important issues that impact Kitchener South-Hespeler," Tabbara said in an emailed statement.

"I'm certain we will have different viewpoints on a range of topics but a healthy conversation and robust debate is what our community expects of us. I want to welcome him on his recent arrival in our great community, in which I've lived for the past 29 years."

Keeso said he's already hearing concerns from voters ahead of the federal election, which is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019.

"I've been at the doors now for several months now and certainly there's a few things that are really emerging," he said in an interview with CBC K-W.

He said the top issues he's hearing include: affordable living, small business concerns, fiscal responsibility and economic competitiveness on a global stage.

Small business concerns are important for him, Keeso said. His family owns a sawmill in Listowel, and he said small businesses are a big source of jobs in Waterloo region's economy.

In the summer of 2017, when the federal government introduced tax reforms, Keeso says small businesses felt like they were demonized.

"We've seen a lot of frustration there. I think we've seen morale very low with our small businesses," he said.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced in December some changes to the initial reforms, including how family members are treated under tax changes for small businesses.

"I've also been hearing concerns of folks wondering if we really do have a strong voice representing us in Ottawa," he said. "I'm looking to return that strong voice, or give that strong voice, for our riding in Ottawa on Parliament Hill."