There are 14 Pictou County residents running for mayor in the 2016 municipal election: three new faces each in Pictou and Trenton, four new people are offering in New Glasgow, Stellarton’s incumbent mayor is facing off against one newcomer and in Westville, the incumbent mayor has two challengers.
In the lead up to the election, The Advocate has reached out to the mayoral candidates in each town asking several questions that have been on the minds of voters.
Here are their responses…
HENDERSON PARIS, New Glasgow
What compelled you to run as mayor of your community?
I am a lifelong resident of New Glasgow; I was brought up here, raised my family here and now have three amazing grandchildren. I have a passion for our town and am honoured to have served as councillor for Ward 1 for the past 12 years, thanks to the support of my fellow citizens. I felt the time was right to step up and take the next step and put my experience to work.
What do you feel are the three main priorities/issues your town is facing?
The number one issue in our town is the local economy. We need to do better in not only attracting new businesses but in supporting existing businesses and entrepreneurs. We all want a future that allows us to earn an honest living, raise a family and have opportunities for our children.
We need to engage our youth. They are the future of our town and have so many innovative and creative young people who want and need a voice at the table. By creating a Young Entrepreneur Council and setting up relationships with our successful and experienced business leaders, we can create and achieve the vision we see for New Glasgow.
I also feel to attract new opportunities now and into the future, we must maintain and improve our infrastructure. I am in complete support of efforts to return public transportation to New Glasgow. This past August, the federal government announced $32 million in funding for public transportation via the 10-year Invest in Canada program and I will work tirelessly with all stakeholders to bring this dream to reality.
What are the future prospects of your town?
The future looks bright for New Glasgow and will only get better as we continue to engage and contribute as a community. We need to continue to make a positive business environment to attract companies like Web.com as well as small and medium-sized businesses like The Healing Touch Health Spa and I am committed to fostering relationships and building a sustainable town.
What do you feel the future of “amalgamation/shared services” is for the community?
The MOU was a very divisive exercise and I think it will take some time before the wounds heal over completely. Having said that, I think ultimately we need to improve the economic outlook for our area in general and work together to help attract new opportunities to the area. While we may be residents of New Glasgow, Stellarton, Westville, Trenton, Pictou and the Municipality of Pictou County, we are all better off when we all succeed together.
How do you think you can better/improve the town?
My experience has taught me that by supporting and encouraging youth and embracing a climate of acceptance and inclusion, we can start to move forward and grow. Leadership starts with embracing the people with innovative ideas and supporting them throughout the process. By welcoming new Canadians and new ideas, we allow ourselves a unique perspective and an advantage. I believe we can harness the proud history of our town and blend it with new ideas; I feel my history of collaboration, dedication and my passion for New Glasgow would make me a strong mayor, ready to take our town to its next chapter.
What would you do differently?
I pledge to work hard every day and be accountable to each and every resident. I will be accountable for every decision made and will make each decision with the best interests of New Glasgow at heart.