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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Candidate Corner- Essex

The Essex Free Press asked each of the 2018 Essex Municipal election candidates to submit a 250-word summary and/or outline their background and platform. The summaries received were arranged in alphabetical order, according to the position, and have been printed unedited. Please note that some candidates did not make a submission.

  It is hoped these summaries will help introduce the candidates to Essex voters heading towards the Monday, October 22 election date.

  In the August 23 edition, the Essex Free Press will print submitted summaries from Kingsville candidates.


Mayor (one to be elected)


Katie McGuire-Blais

I am currently working as an Administrative assistant to the president of a printing company and I am also their Marketing Coordinator.  In my first year working there, their profits increased 120%. I took the company from selling locally to selling across Canada into the US and even gaining customers in Mexico.

  I look forward to leading and working not only with council but with the entire community to make decisions and policies that will benefit generations to come.  To do that, we need to make it easier for people in our Municipality to work in our municipality. We need to make sure basic amenities are equal across the board, which will include making sure the hydro problem in Harrow/Colchester gets fixed permanently and the people responsible for the problems are held accountable.

  I look forward to working with the OPP to create a bigger police presence in our parks and streets, and we need to fill the vacant storefronts that are growing in numbers week by week.  What Essex needs most in their next council is transparency and unity. I look forward to including the public more and keeping them updated on what is happening.

  It’s time for change. It’s time for someone new to hear and do something about your complaints and concerns. It’s time you started getting answers. It is time to treat our municipality like the business it is and not like the social club it has become. If you agree Vote, Katie McGuire-Blais.

Ron Rogers

Growing up, both my parents were active in many community organizations. I learned at a young age the value and importance of involvement and service.

  Over the years I have been and am still active in many organizations and committees.

  Having won last year’s bi-election I will soon complete my 12th year of council. Previously, I served a full term on the Essex council and three terms with the former Colchester South Township.

  My career, (now retired) in  automotive parts production and corporate sales has allowed me the opportunity to develop my skills in leadership, bargaining, mediation, collaboration and diplomacy.

  My Essex vision is of economic growth and prosperity. Promote our initiatives through collaboration with our regional partners. Follow good leads and lead followers.

  Our priorities will be: completion of #3 Highway, reliable electricity, expanded hi-speed internet, infrastructure development and growth in our residential, commercial and industrial base. As well, I will strive to create an environment on council that encourages respectful, positive interaction, debate and consensus.

  I believe we need to provide the opportunities for our residents and businesses to prosper and set parameters that encourage growth. When our people prosper our town does too.

  I will be a vocal, effective member at the county table as goals are set and change is implemented making us strong and attractive for further regional investment and growth.

  Please Vote on October 22nd.

  I am Ron Rogers. I am a candidate for Mayor of Essex. I am “The Right Choice”!

Rob Shepley

I was born and raised in Essex and have lived in three of the four wards. I am currently a resident of ward 1 where Patricia Cacilhas and I are raising our family of 3 boys.

  Since 1989, my family and I, have been operating business’s within our Municipality. These businesses have kept me connected to the residents and the activities in our town.  As a business owner, I know the importance of having a thriving town and a community and council that works together.  I would love to see our town move in a direction of growth and accountability. 

  I would like to reduce development fees to attract investors to inspire growth and provide opportunities for local jobs.

  Paving and maintaining of ALL of our roads will be my priority. 

  I will commit to working towards bringing a high speed fibre optic service in our rural area’s to our town centres.

  I will commit to working closely with the police services board to address areas of concern brought to my attention.

  From the shores of Lake Erie, to Essex centre, I would love to see Essex as a place for people to live and stay, and for people to visit and return.

  As I put my name forward to run as mayor, I am giving the residents a new option on the ballot and to put Essex on the map as a well respected, organized and cost efficient municipality. 

  Please feel free to email me your thoughts to

Larry Snively

A lifelong resident of Harrow/Colchester, Larry, wife Linda and three sons are proud of their community. Larry has been an active volunteer and member in many organizations that impact residents throughout the area.

  Larry is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Royal Canadian Legion, Past member Rotary club and Kinsmen, Police Service Board, Colchester Harbourv committee, Arts Culture and Tourism committee, Liaison Landfill, ERCA Board of Directors and Committee of Adjustment.

  Larry was Essex Mayor in 2001/2002. He is currently council member for ward 3 a position he has served with distinction for over 7 years. He is a strong advocate for residential/commercial and industrial growth for the Town of Essex. He has secured Moir Ferris Machinery Movers to locate in Essex. He has also been working with residential developers to build residential subdivisions within the municipality.

  Fundraising is another area where Larry excels. Single handed, he raised over $40,000 for the recent Essex Family Fun Day held at Colchester Harbour. He worked tirelessly for the local Legion in securing funds for a kitchen upgrade, Pain pumps for the cancer ward at Mel Hospital, funds for Down Syndrome and funds for Kiwanis Summer Camp.

  Larry has a proven record for moving our municipality forward in a positive and inclusive way. Essex under Larry’s leadership will focus on infrastructure improvements in the 4 wards and increased residential/commercial development. Essex will be a positive and safe community for all our residents.


Deputy Mayor (one to be elected)

Phil Pocock

Growing up in Essex center, I attended Essex District High School, leaving in 1996 to attend Sheridan College in Brampton, Ontario, earning a Diploma in Telecommunications. I have been employed by TELUS for the last 15 years, and recently I have been an active part of the Essex Community Services Board, E.L.K. Energy – Board of Directors and the Essex Heritage Committee.

  If elected, I will work towards promoting our region as a willing and collaborative community that welcomes and encourages increased investment throughout the municipality; maintaining this area as an excellent place to raise our families now and in the future.

  When we grow every area of our municipality, keep taxes manageable for all, and invest into each community focusing on their unique strengths, we will see success!

  Tourism within Harrow and Colchester will be our strongest draw utilizing County Road 50 as an excellent starting point! Essex, Gesto and McGregor will act as bedroom communities providing easy access for residents commuting throughout the county for work or play, and our agricultural and farming neighbours will fill in the gaps.

  Over the next few weeks, I will be talking with many fellow voters and all will have their own opinion as to what can be improved in their part of the municipality. Some I will agree with, and others I may not; either way, we need to bring respect back to our council and I’d like it to start with me.


Ward One-Essex Centre (two to be elected)

Morley Bowman

I am a long-time resident, married to Bev, children Marnie and Martie, & grandson Austin. After a four-year hiatus from Council my return will add stability and confidence in our Council.

  I have served on most committees and Boards in our community as well as ERCA, Library Bd., Health Unit and Housing Auth. I Chaired the Fun Fest for many years and now Joe Garon has taken it to the next. I presently sit on Heritage Essex, Elk Solutions, Essex United and I am a member of Legion BR. 201

  We are a hardworking community with service clubs working independently and together, for a better community. It is important that our Council shows the same cohesiveness dealing with other levels of Gov’t.

  The Future? We have a great start on the Heritage Gardens, but more work and money are required, the same for the new sports field. This will require leveraging more from the Fed. and Prov. Govt’s. This also requires a united and level minded approach from Council. We must continue to pressure the province to widen Hwy. 3 as they promised.

  Streets, roads, sidewalks and drainage issues face every Council. It is important to keep 5 & 10 YR. plans updated to insure issues are dealt with and taxes controlled.

  Over my terms on Council the Train Station, Recreation Complex, Murals, Library & Police office, wastewater treatment & public Works building, the new Arena, Firehall and trails were built or restored. All completed with my support on Council.

  Support MORLEY BOWMAN for Council 519-776-8486 or

Joe Garon

My name is Joe Garon. I have lived in Essex Centre all my life. I have been married for 27 years and have one son who attends the University of Windsor. I have been the chairperson of the Essex Fun Fest the past 4 years, and an executive with the Essex 73’s the past 9 years.

  I want to make Essex Centre the best it should be, in every aspect. As tax payers of Ward 1, you shouldn’t have to settle for anything less.

  Essex Centre is a great place to raise a family, with a lot of potential to be even greater. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But we can’t grow as a community unless we have a council that is focused on the business at hand. There is plenty to do and no more time for nonsense.

  I have a vision of Essex Centre and it’s beautiful. I know together, Essex Centre can be that community everyone is talking about. I am tired of being compared to other towns. It’s time for us to set the bar, and become the town where people want to raise their families. Or the place they feel the need to visit and shop. Maybe open their businesses. I’m tired of cars driving by us along Highway #3.

  I’m tired. Aren’t you?

  If you want change and forward thinkers on your council, I represent both. I will challenge myself throughout my term to ensure you, the tax payer, will be properly represented.

Fred Groves

Essex needs an attitude adjustment.

  This safe and healthy community, my hometown, has to look at ways to re-establish itself as a place where residents want to live and businesses want to invest.

  How do we do that?

  Communication, co-operation and consideration must be at the forefront if we want to move forward and become as successful as our neighbouring municipalities.

  Council needs to be persistent in its attempts to work with its administration. A knowledgeable administration that must educate council and residents on issues, projects and the future.

  The past four years have been grossly overshadowed by personal conflicts.

That said, I want to congratulate the current council for pointing us in the right direction. Financially stable thanks to a five-year forecast, a Fire Master Plan, Recreation Master Plan, CIP program and a commitment to heritage.

  So what can I bring to the table?

  Ward 1, Essex Centre is overflowing with potential growth.

  That starts with the development of the Essex Town Centre at Maidstone Ave, and Highway 3.

We have purchased land for a much needed sports facility and that, along with convincing the Essex Ravens football club to returning is one of the biggest issues for me.

  We have seen a toxic work assessment within the fire department so I will advocate for a Fire Commission that operates like a Police Services Board.

  Finally, a Community Garden that can be utilized by our food banks and give everyone an opportunity to take pride in a project.

Tom Holland

I am Tom Holland, I ran my own business for 25 years and have been retired for 10 years. I’m coming out of retirement to run for Town Council because of how our elected representatives treat their constituents.

  The Town has By-laws for everyone, but I found that an individual can flood onto a neighbouring property and nothing is done by the Town, another can run their downspouts onto their neighbour and be fined. Another example I heard was an Aunt took her niece to Council about a problem, an elected representative asked if someone was her brother, when she answered yes, he said they could leave, he would take care of it. Is this the way we want our Town to be run?

  We elect our representatives so the Town will operate properly for ALL their citizens. They are the ones to make sure the Town is running properly, that all citizens are under the same rules and treated the same. When this happens, business and industries will start moving in and creating jobs. We have a beautiful Town from downtown Essex to the shores of Lake Erie. This is our Town, maybe we need a whole new council to get it running right. I will guarantee one and all that you will have a representative who will work for you. Thank you.

Randy Voakes

  I call on your support in the upcoming 2018 municipal election, my platform in terms of this election is and always will be to continue to work hard for the residents of Ward#1

  The challenges of the past have been fruitful, we have seen the Town transition in many ways but it is of my opinion we still have a long way to go I’ve never been a advocate of the status quo we have to keep pushing forward on the issues that are important to the people of the Town of Essex and more then anything listen to what they are saying in terms of their community and be their voice.

  So in closing you will see candidates making promises, that will never happen, I believe that the election period is full of deceit and political fallacies to say the least, I will not participate in that, my record speaks for itself everything I’ve done and every challenge put before me has always been in the interest of the residents and I will remain committed to that.

  Best Regards, Randy Voakes


Ward 2-McGregor (one to be elected)

Terry Brockman

Born and raised in Ward 2 and still live on the home farm for 62 years in Gesto.  Retired as Manager of Operations from the Town of Essex after 34 1/2 years.  Retired from the Essex Station 2 volunteer fire department after 19 years of service.  Married for 41 years to Cindy Brockman(Colenutt).  We had 4 children. Cory, Misty, Jacey and Nicky. Attended Colchester North and Essex District High Schools.

  I took pride in working for the town and making the roads a number one priority while managing that department.  I feel this experience has given me the knowledge to bring issues to the table that need to be addressed. Having been on  both sides of the work force, I feel I can be an asset and a voice for not only Ward 2 but for the entire town of Essex.  Change is needed and I feel I can help do that.  Common sense seems to have gone by the wayside at times and I am the one to provide some reality.  You can contact me at  Hoping to be your voice at council.

Kim Verbeek

I am running to be the next Councillor for the town of Essex in Ward 2.

  I have deep roots in our community. 

I’ve lived in this Ward for most of my life. My husband Steve and I have raised our children here, and I’ve been active in our community for more than 35 years.

  I’ve served our community as a youth leader, foster parent and home care provider for seniors.

  I’m currently Vice-Chair of the Essex Police Services Board, Chair of our local Landfill Liaison Committee and Vice-Chair of the Essex Fun Fest Committee.

  Our Council needs new voices – people who have the passion and energy to fight for a better Essex. My vision is to build a vibrant, thriving Essex for all. If elected, I will focus on:

  Enhancing our quality of life for Essex residents

• Ensure that all residents- including youth, working families and seniors- have the services and programs to improve our quality of life

• Building a strong economy by supporting local jobs and incentives for small business

Improving neighbourhood infrastructure

• Ensuring our roads are well maintained

• Achieving higher waste diversion and landfill longevity

• Supports for residents affected by flooding & drainage issues

Providing responsive and accountable representation

• Transparency and accountability on Essex Council

• Greater public engagement on issues important to our community

  I am deeply committed, determined and have the experience to be a strong voice for Ward 2. I respectfully ask for your support.


Mark Williams

Mark Williams has been a resident of Essex for over 35 years. He has owned and operated his standardbred horse farm for 30 years with his wife Teri and four sons, Brandon, Phillip, Mark Jr and Kevin.

  Mark has been a professional standardbred horseperson since 1975. He has garnered countless accolades and crossed many milestones, including reaching over 5000 wins. He continues to race across Southwestern Ontario, and serves as the district representative for OHPA (The Ontario Horsepersons Association.) As district representative, he has fought for drivers rights, and to help bring horse racing back to the community of Lakeshore. From local council to Queens Park, Mark has advocated at all levels of government.

  Mark wants to increase economic development throughout his ward and continue to stimulate the economy through both business expansion and attraction. He also encourages residential growth and more importantly views keeping taxes down and major priority.

  Mark is enthusiastic about the future of our community. He is forward thinking, and strives toward the betterment and improvement of Essex, Lakeshore and all surrounding communities.

Ward 3-Colchester (Two to be elected)


Steve Bjorkman

I reside at 240 Ferris in Colchester Village

  23 years at Ford Motor Co. UNIFOR member, Local 200.

  Married 33 years to Mary-Anne and we have 2 grown daughters, Dana and Amy

  I grew up in Windsor but for the last 24 years have lived in Colchester North, Essex Centre and Colchester Village.

  I have enjoyed being on council the last 4 years and worked hard for the entire community of Essex. From improvements to the harbor and park, the bitter fight for Harrow District High School to the push for increased development, both residential and commercial in Colchester South and Harrow.

  There are many issues facing the residents of Colchester South and prioritizing them is the first part to dealing with them. Here are issues I have identified and I look forward to discussing yours.

  - Road Maintenance and rebuilding.

- Road Safety and OPP Presence.

- High Speed Rural Internet.

- Federal / Provincial Shore Line Protection Assistance.

- Colchester Village Parking Issues, Schoolhouse and Development.

- Continued Property Standards Enforcement.

- Incentive programs for On Farm Business.

- Bike Lanes and CWATS.

- Commercial Development in the Village.

- Drainage Maintenance Schedule.

- Continued accessibility enhancements.

- Storm water Management Mapping.

- Streamlining ERCA Permit Process.

  All of these issues are important and need to be addressed by the next council. I look forward to discussing these with the residents of Colchester South to see where their priorities are. The constraints we have are of course time and funds. If you do not see me at your door please feel free to call or email me.

Rodney Hammond

My name is Rodney Hammond. I am 58 yrs. old. I call Harrow and Colchester and now Essex the Greatest Place on Earth to Live.

  Watching neighbouring communities grow exponentially, its apparent, that its only a matter of time before it begins to happen to us.  Knowing this gives us an opportunity to control and create how we wish our community will adapt and grow.

  Our centers have been decimated over the resent years as trends and peoples demands change. Vacant storses and the lack of shoppers appears to be the norm.

  But... I do see improvements. I see storeowners addressing their storefronts to make them more appealling to would be businesses.

  I see centers trying to rediscover themselves as this new millennium is just beginning to take off.

  I believe in being Proactive rather than sit back to wait and see what happens.

  I believe in do Dilligence and Facts as well as Common Sense and Reason.

  I am all for Progress all while Preserving our Past.

  And, I’m a big proponent of What Ifs!

  I would be both a Privledge and a Honour to be able to serve my Community as a Councelor in Ward 3 of the town of Essex.

  Vote Rodney Hammond for Councelor Ward 3, Town of Essex, October 22.


Ward 4-Harrow (One to be elected)

Sherry Bondy

It has been an honour and privilege to serve on Essex council for the last 8 years representing the Harrow community.   I would love to serve another term and build upon our successes by working together as team for all our residents.

  My background is customer service and I feel that has been my strength serving on council.   I have a degree in Social Work and a bachelor of Education which has taught me to listen and  research. 

  I am proud of many of the recent accomplishments council and administration have achieved.  Solid financial plans, asset management, 5 year budget, parks and recreation improvements. We have been able to maintain and increase level of service while keeping tax increases to a minimum. We still have a lot of work to do but are seeing improvements and growth in all of our communities.   

  I would love to see council: expand Community Improvement programs, look further into waste reduction, examine the OPP contract and look for areas for service improvement,  ensure ELK energy is investing enough back into its capital infrastructure, work with developers to get more affordable housing throughout the municipality and engage the youth representatives. 

  I would love to have the support of the residents of Ward 4 this election.  I will continue to be a strong voice at the table and advocate on our behalf.  I have integrity, experience and work ethic.  I can be reached at and 519-818-8872.

  Thank you, Sherry Bondy 

Paul Innes

My name is Paul Innes and I have been encouraged to run in Harrow Centre by many residents to be your advocate as councilor. My many years of past elected experience as a councilor and Mayor has been in Ward 3 where I was a strong advocate for Harrow and Colchester.

  I have observed over the last decade, particularly in the last two terms, that Harrow has become dormant; struggling to achieve the full potential of its legacy.

  I believe it is time to take affirmative action to make Harrow a destination for its quality of life. We have more staff and consultants without enhancement to service.

  The allocation of assets to service the needs of the residents must be across perceived or constructed barriers. Action plans must be built with Councils’ participation. Plan reviews and corrective action is an accountability issue to anticipate needs. Current service is reactive not proactive.

  A councilor must have experience in organizational action, business practices, strategic planning for all areas, especially financial planning and control. It is not the duty of a councilor to just occupy a seat at the table. It is imperative that your councilor has a track record of accomplishment, recognizing what is essential to improve quality of life and timely response to service needs and delivery. I have these.

  It is time for a change to restart Harrow’s local growth and re-establish its importance to work, live, play and enjoy a high standard of life we all deserve.


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