Windsor·#WEvotes

Meet the people running for council in the Town of Essex

19 people are running for council in the Town of Essex. Here is a little bit about each one of them.

19 people running for 8 seats

(Town of Essex)

In the Town of Essex, 19 people are running for 8 spots on council: 1 mayor, 1 deputy mayor and 6 councillors.

For the mayoral race, video-journalist Meg Roberts made 'player cards' for each candidate. She captured a photo of each candidate doing something familiar or fun to them, and asked them to answer three questions.

Reporter/editor Jonathan Pinto contacted candidates for the rest of council, asking them to submit a photo and respond to an email questionnaire.

Answers may have been edited for clarity or because they exceeded the character limit given.

Mayor | Deputy Mayor | Ward 1 | Ward 2 | Ward 3 | Ward 4

Mayor

There are 4 people running for mayor.

Katie McGuire-Blais
Email | Facebook

What is your top priority if elected?
Accountability. My goal is to have a more open council, with far fewer closed door meetings and to hold everyone accountable to their roles in the community. To work with council, administration and the public to help restore confidence and trust.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
I believe council, at the very least, should have read the $113,950 workplace assessment report on the Essex Fire and Rescue services, instead council accepted the CAO's report, which they do often, making it hard to determine their actual decisions.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
County Road 50 has some incredible wine tours, but as my family is still young, these days I enjoy packing a picnic and getting out with them. Our municipality has so many beautiful parks where we love to walk, bike, picnic and play!

Ron Rogers
Email

What is your top priority if elected?
As mayor my top priority as we enter our term will be to facilitate and encourage an atmosphere of cooperation and respect among the members of the new council.  Respect of each other's opinions with open discussion will help lead us to the level of consensus and positive outcome needed to carry our town forward.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
I would change a number of decisions that brought Consultants into the decision making process. Two that I believe were totally unnecessary were whether or not to elect a Deputy Mayor "at large" and the potential re-alignment of the wards.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
I enjoy attending and observing activities that the town sponsors or endorses and the enjoyment they bring to our residents and visitors, from the "Fun Fest" to the annual "Fishing Derby" and everything between.

Rob Shepley
Email | Facebook

What is your top priority if elected?
We need to reduce/remove development fees, open all doors to commercial and residential development.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
I can not pick a particular decision I would change except the environment and atmosphere they have been working under.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
My favourite activity in my municipality would be the Essex Fun Fest and Harrow Fair.

Larry Snively
Email

What is your top priority if elected?
Top priority would be to draw more industrial and manufacturing businesses along Highway 3 to build a strong tax base.

Which council decision made last term would you change?
The one decision we made last year that I would change would be to increase the amount of money designated for roads and infrastructure.

What is your favourite activity in your municipality?
My favorite activity in my municipality is sport fishing out of Colchester Harbour.

Deputy Mayor

There are 2 people running for deputy mayor.

Richard Meloche*
Candidate submitted profile after original publication date
Email
(Richard Meloche)

Age: 59

Occupation: Master Scheduler - Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Budgets and numbers are a large part of council business. I'm a numbers guy, educated in finance and employed in this field most of my life. I've been chair of the Town's Finance/HR/CIB/Heritage Committees and deputy mayor three terms in a row as decided by my councillor peers.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
The need for more development — industrial/commercial/residential. It's always about increasing the tax base. Council has been working on projects to make this happen and I hope to continue with this over the next four years. Reliable internet is also an issue that I will address.

Phil Pocock
EmailFacebook | Twitter
(Phil Pocock)

Age: 41

Occupation: RF Operation Specialist - TELUS Windsor/Essex 

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
In the past I was a Councillor/Delegate & Finance Committee member of the TWU/STT and currently I am an active board member of Elk Energy, Essex Community Services and the Essex Heritage committee. My wife and I also own a number of investment properties within the area. 

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?
A reticent attitude towards change and progress is the biggest issue within our municipality. I would like to encourage investment by asking questions such as 'How can we encourage you to invest in Essex?' in order to see this area flourish and prosper, now and in the future.

Ward 1

There are 5 people running for 2 seats in Ward 1.

Morley Bowman
Email
(Morley Bowman)

Age: 75

Occupation: Retired from Pitney Bowes of Canada after 34 years

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Morley served on Essex Council for many years, working on most of the committees and boards of council as well as the Health Unit, Housing Authority, the Essex Region Conservation Authority, Union Water System and Canada South Festival Network. He also chaired the Essex FunFest. 

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
The challenge facing Essex Council will be to bring council members to a point where individuals can voice their opinions but reach a majority decision on policy rather than focusing on special concerns that sometimes divides rather than creating a cohesive council.

Joe Garon*
Candidate submitted profile after original publication date​
EmailFacebook
(Joe Garon)

Age: 50

Occupation: Owner, Turnkey Entertainment and Promotions

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
I am chair of the Essex Fun Fest for the past 4 years. I am on the board of directors of the Essex 73's for the past 9 years. Past president of the Essex Men's Slo-Pitch League and Ball Hockey League. I am a common-sense person, a forward thinker, and not afraid of change.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
Animosity among council members, and between council and administration, is stalling the Town of Essex from moving forward. Lack of new development, both residential and commercial/industrial, is costing us tax dollars. Taxpayers need to have a bigger voice. 

Fred Groves
Email | Facebook | Twitter
(Fred Groves)

Age: 58

Occupation: Writer/Security

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
As an author, journalist/blogger, I have the experience to ask the tough questions and expect answers.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
Biggest issue in Essex Ward 1 is development, both residential and the development of our new outdoors sports fields.

Tom Holland
Email
(Tom Holland)

Age: 72

Occupation: Retired

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Ran my own business for 25 yrs, been retired 10 yrs. Found out how I was represented by the Town over by-laws. I do not want to see any constituent without representation by Council, Mayor, or town administration.  I'm coming out of retirement because I was not being represented.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
My single biggest issue concerns by-laws. We elect representatives to represent us about our town. All citizens should be treated fairly. We are elected to build our town, not ourselves. Treating all citizens under the same rules will promote business and industry to our town.

Randy Voakes
​Candidate did not reply to CBC questionnaire 

Ward 2

There are 3 people running for 1 seat in Ward 2.

Terry Brockman
Email Facebook
(Terry Brockman)

Age: 61

Occupation: I am a current cash crop farmer.  

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
I retired from the town of Essex after 34 years as the Operations Manager. In this position I managed all road maintenance and new construction which included roadside drainage and storm sewers. This also included being in charge of the operations budget.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
We are falling behind in road maintenance and construction and I feel with my experience that I can help council move forward, not only in Ward 2, but for the entire Town of Essex

Kim Verbeek
Email | Website | Facebook
(Kim Verbeek)

Age: 54

Occupation: Work at McGregor K of C, foster parent, and emergency supply

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
35 yrs of community engagement & the past 5 yrs engaged in Essex politics, attending meetings, open houses, public consults, budget debates, police contract discussions, speaking to ombudsman & county council on behalf of citizen groups have me prepared well to serve on council.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
A lack of trust in current council, with strong interest in the need to bring integrity & transparency back. A lot of folks hope for solutions & support for flooding/drainage issues, a lifelong advocate that will bring up issues & work for solutions.

Mark Williams
Email | Facebook
(Mark Williams)

Age: 60

Occupation: Professional Standardbred Horseperson for over 40 yrs

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
As a district representative Mark has fought for drivers rights and to help bring horse racing back to the community of Lakeshore. From local council to Queen's Park, Mark has advocated at all levels of government. 

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
Mark is currently working toward a solution best suited to everyone in regards to ATV riding in his ward. He will work with those who do and do not belong to the Essex County ATV club to make safe and sustainable riding areas for everyone.

Ward 3

There are 3 people running for 2 seats in Ward 3.

Steve Bjorkman
Email | Facebook
(Steve Bjorkman)

Age: 56

Occupation: Quality Control Tech, Ford Canada, UNIFOR Local 200

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
​I have spent the last 4 years on council. I have been working directly with developers and stakeholders to improve all areas of our town. As a past chair of the Essex BIA and a commercial property owner I understand the residential and commercial issues facing our municipality.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
​Colchester South's biggest issue is roadways. Everything from maintenance and rebuilding to safety and traffic enforcement for our rural area. Shore line protection for our Lakeside residents and high speed internet for the whole of Colchester South.

​Rodney Hammond
Email
(Rodney Hammond)

Age: 58

Occupation: Chef / Entrepreneur

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
A chef and an entrepreneur for 35 yrs, I have learned to adapt to the ever changing needs of my customers. I intend to bring the same ideals to council as they pertain to the desires of my constituents.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
I hope to help restore, with the help of the new council and administration, a healthy atmosphere to a council chambers that appears to be rife with animosity.

Chris Vander Doelen
Email | Facebook | Twitter
(Chris Vander Doelen)

Age: 61

Occupation: Retired journalist

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
As a reporter and columnist I spent 37 years reporting and analyzing all levels of municipal affairs – from sewers and roads to taxes, housing, social services and senior government relations. I wrote about the auto industry for 10 years and understand local business needs.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
Essex voters are fed up with a council mired in old feuds, and they want experienced new blood so the town can move forward again. Development has stagnated, stifling new jobs, investment and housing construction. We need to catch up. I have the common sense skills to help.

Ward 4

There are 2 people running for 1 seat in Ward 4.

Sherry Bondy
Email | Facebook
(Sherry Bondy)

Age: 37

Occupation: I am currently on maternity leave from a position with Essex County Library where I am employed as a Branch Assistant.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
I am the current Ward 4 councillor looking to serve a third term. A Degree in Social Work and Education has taught me to listen and research. I am strong voice at the table, balancing service with fiscal responsibility. 

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
My constituents are sharing with me their top biggest concerns are a reliable electricity supply, police presence concerns and integrity at town hall. Residents want accessible, accountable leadership. 

Paul Innes
Email
(Paul Innes)

Age: 69

Occupation: Answering my call to full time service in the Harrow Colchester communities. Retired from secular employment K-Scrap Resources and ordained ministry Mariner's Church of Detroit

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Past mayor, council member three terms. Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce. NAFTA Superhighway Coalition. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 338 Harrow. Diocese of Huron & Christ Church Colchester. A master's level education and a 38-year career in business operations.

What is the single biggest issue in your ward/municipality?
No champion for Harrow in the operation of the municipality. No experience and technical ability in service delivery. Administration in control not council. Lack of creative vision focused on our future. That includes a moral code of conduct where service and views are respected.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.

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