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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Municipal election candidate list is Clerk certified

- Four candidates are vying for the Mayoral position -

by Sylene Argent

On July 30, Town of Essex Clerk, Robert Auger, certified the candidate list for the the fall 2018 municipal election.

Four candidates are running for the Mayoral position, including Rob Shepley, Larry Snively, Katie McGuire-Blais, and Ron Rogers.

   Rogers, who won the by-election last fall to earn the vacated Council seat for Ward 3 on Essex Council, announced his candidacy for the Mayoral position last Friday afternoon after he filed the paper work.

  He believes he is the right candidate to move Essex forward. “I will lead and work with Council to promote and encourage discussion, debate, and consensus as we develop our policies and direction for the future.”

  He added as a comprehensive vision for the future is created, he will engage the public. He said he would also be an affective participant at the County of Essex decision-making table as change is made to make the region stronger and more attractive for future development.

  “Our presence and strength will be known and respected,” he said. “I am the candidate for the job.”

  This is Rogers’ third attempt at the Mayoral race in Essex. He said there has been too much friction in the past in the Council Chambers that has overshadowed the good things accomplished. He believes he will be able to lead discussions with eliminating that friction because he believes he conducts himself with a lot of diplomacy.

  Rogers wants to see Highway # 3 expanded and wants to keep subdivision momentum rolling.

  Rogers is the President of the Board of Directors for ACCESS, is a member of the Essex CIB committee, and is on the John R. Park Homestead Committee.

  Shepley is a local business owner. “I’ve lived in three wards and I have family in all wards of the municipality. This community is our heart and soul. My business is here. I have employees who live here. It is in the best interest of everyone for the municipality to strive. I want to see it do well,” he said of why he decided to run for Mayor.

   “What made me run for mayor is everybody in our municipality is looking for new faces and fresh new ideas,” he wrote on his Shepley4Myor Facebook page.

  “I look forward to doing the job if elected. It would be an interesting endeavour for sure,” he said.

  Shepley would like to look at options to bring high speed internet services to the municipality, starting in the south-end. He said such a service is important for wineries and residents in the southern area.

  He would also like to lower or eliminate development fees for commercial and residential development. “It would do us wonders,” he said, noting he has been in construction for 30 years, and would say over the past decade there have been missed opportunity in Essex. He would also like to upgrade sewer systems to ready the Town for new development and to prevent flooding.

  McGuire-Blais is 35-year-old University of Windsor graduate, who earned a degree in business, and is a newcomer to the political game. In an email to the Essex Free Press, she stated she believes she is ready for the mayoral position and that the town is ready for change. 

After the election, McGuire-Blais wants to lead and work with not only the new council, but the entire community to make a better Essex for generations to come.

It is her belief that council has been making some great decisions, but that those decisions have gotten lost in the chaos that has consumed the media.   

“It’s time for change, from the top down.  I am going to be that change. I want to show everyone that young people, especially women, can make a difference in a big way.”

  She credits her work ethic to growing up on the family farm.

   Current Councillor Larry Snively also has his eyes set on the mayoral position. He first got on Council in Colchester South in 2000. He later won a by-election to become Mayor for the rest of that term.

He was elected as one of two Colchester reps on Essex Council in 2014.

  Snively is running for Mayor because, “I would like to see the municipality as a whole grow a solid industrial base in the north and south ends to build a solid tax base so more money can be put into infrastructure.”

  He said he has been working with developers to bring in more residential growth in the north and south so commercial businesses can be supported.

  Not so long ago, the Town of Essex purchased property on the southside of Highway # 3 for recreational lands. Snively wants to work to get that land developed to help attract families to the area. He said he is also working to get costing to bring services to the other side of Highway # 3 so operations, such as tool and die shops and fabrication shops, can be attracted to build a stronger tax base.

  Snively said he enjoys being on Council and has done a lot of volunteer work. He said he raised the $40,000 needed to put on the Essex Family Fun Day in Colchester last weekend. He said he is also involved with the Knights of Columbus and the Legion.

  Just before the nomination deadline, Phil Pocock, who had originally put his name in to run as a Councillor for Ward One, switched tactics and decided to run against Richard Meloche, the current position holder, in the race for Deputy Mayor.

  Even with Pocock switching gears, earning a position as a Ward 1 Councillor for the Town of Essex will be tough as five candidates are vying for two possible seats.

  Ward 1 (Essex Centre) candidates are Tom Holland, Fred Groves, Morley Bowman, Joe Garon, and incumbent, Randy Voakes.

  Current Councillor Steve Bjorkman is leaving one seat in Ward 1 open as he is running for one of the two Council seats in Ward 3 (Colchester) instead. So is Chris Vander Doelen and Rodney Hammond.

The battle for the Ward 2 (McGregor) seat has three candidates vying for the one position on Essex Council. Those hopefuls are: Kim Verbeek, Mark Williams, and Terry Brockman.

  In Ward 4, two candidates are running for the one seat at the Municipal decision-making table, including incumbent, Sherry Bondy, and challenger, Paul Innes.


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