Essex County Warden Gary McNamara headlines 12th annual Luncheon

by Sylene Argent

At the 12th annual Warden’s Luncheon, which was hosted at the Ciociaro Club on Friday afternoon, recently elected Essex County Warden, who is also the long-time Mayor of Tecumseh, Gary McNamara, spoke of the diversity and strength of the region.

  The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts the event annually for an opportunity for the Warden to speak about business-related issues and files.

  McNamara said when he looked out into the room of a couple hundred individuals who represented local businesses and included municipal staff and council reps, “I see pride, passion, and progress,” McNamara said, adding he also saw resiliency.

  “We are determined to get the job done and never give in in Windsor-Essex,” he said.

  The news of FCA shutting down its third shift, which is said will affect 1500 employees, was announced prior to the luncheon. McNamara said his heart goes out to the workers. The region, he said, with help from higher tiers of government, will look at ways to save jobs and diversity the economy.

  The plant, McNamara said, has been running three shifts since 1993.

  “The news is hard to take.”

  The 1500 jobs to be lost, he noted, will ripple through and hurt the economy.

  “It will not break us. We will endure, like we did in the past.”

  Only a decade ago, McNamara said, the world’s finances almost collapsed and threatened the manufacturing sector. The unemployment rate in the area went into the high double digits then, he noted. At the closing of 2018, McNamara said, the local unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

  McNamara also highlighted a few businesses who planned to expand in the near future.

  “Here in Windsor-Essex, we persevered. We plowed ahead. And, we did it together. We’ll do it again in reaction to [The Chrysler] announcement.”

  McNamara also spoke of the day-to-day operations at the County level. He said for the past 15-years, the tax rate has been flatlined. The County is debt-free and works under the philosophy of “pay as you go.”  

He also noted the County will provide $100 million towards the mega hospital project over the next several years.

  “We believe strongly, without reservation, Windsor-Essex residents deserve the best healthcare possible,” he said. “We need to end hallway healthcare with a new facility. The time to talk is over. It is time to get a shovel in the ground. We need to send a message to the province we are ready.”

  In addition, McNamara spoke of the important connections CWATS provides with local trails, and that much needs to be done to improve habitat and climate change.

  “We have so much to be proud of and so much to look forward to,” he said.

  The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce does so much for so many, McNamara said during his address, adding he is looking forward to seeing what happens under its new leadership as Rakesh Naidu recently took over as President and CEO.

  “You are pitching a project that is easy to sell,” McNamara said, boasting about the region, noting Windsor-Essex has a great work force along with other top amenities.  

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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