Wool­wich vot­ers get a chance to pick a can­di­date in Ward 1 and Ward 2

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

ON­TAR­I­ANS GO TO THE polls Oc­to­ber 22 to vote for their mu­nic­i­pal rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Thanks to the new elec­tronic vot­ing sys­tem, Wool­wich res­i­dents can cast their bal­lots as of Oc­to­ber 9.

While the mayor’s po­si­tion and Ward 3 seats have been filled by ac­cla­ma­tion, there is a race for Ward 1, with three can­di­dates vy­ing for two spots, and a pair of can­di­dates fac­ing off to be the new rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Ward 2.

WARD 1

JULIE-ANNE HERTEIS In­cum­bent coun­cil­lor Julie-Anne Herteis is run­ning for her se­cond full­term as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Ward 1. A res­i­dent of Elmira, Herteis hopes to bring both her pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence as a for­mer Wool­wich coun­cil­lor, as well as her dis­tinct lived ex­pe­ri­ence, for an em­pa­thetic ap­proach to lo­cal pol­i­tics.

“I was a sin­gle mum quite a few years ago,” said Herteis. “I’ve been to the food bank, lived in On­tario hous­ing. I started at the bot­tom in life, and I think I’ve done pretty well work­ing my way up. So I have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence that way. Cul­tural, so­cial, those types of things that I think a lot of peo­ple who are in pol­i­tics re­ally don’t have.

“I think a lot of peo­ple who are in pol­i­tics re­ally don’t have [that ex­pe­ri­ence]. Not a lot of peo­ple know what it’s like to be on the ground floor.”

Though Herteis is fin­ish­ing the term as an in­cum­bent on Wool­wich coun­cil, she did not start that way. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously served as Ward 1 coun­cil­lor from 2010-14, Herteis chose not to stand for re-elec­tion in 2014. How­ever, af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of coun­cil­lor Scott Hahn ear­lier in 2018, Herteis stepped up and of­fered to fill the role un­til the elec­tion this month.

“Every­body brings some­thing dif­fer­ent and unique. Some peo­ple are strictly busi­ness peo­ple. Some peo­ple are farm­ers, some are com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion ori­ented,” said Herteis. “I have lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing. I am like a Jack of all trades.”

SCOTT MCMIL­LAN The cur­rent chair and Wool­wich/Wellesley trustee on the Wa­ter­loo Re­gion Dis­trict School Board, McMil­lan is now seek­ing his first term on Wool­wich Town­ship coun­cil. He hopes to bring a com­mit­ment to good process, an en­thu­si­asm for mu­nic­i­pal plan­ning, and his ex­pe­ri­ence on the school board.

“I think it’s where the rub­ber meets the road, it’s where you get the op­por­tu­nity to have a di­rect im­pact on peo­ple’s lives,” he ex­plained. “It’s why I en­joy be­ing in­volved in elected pol­i­tics at this level, so that’s why I’m run­ning for coun­cil, to try and help peo­ple.”

Dur­ing his time on the school board, McMil­lan said he earned a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a more con­cil­ia­tory mem­ber and me­di­a­tor within the of­ten­times frac­tious group. He was cho­sen by his peers on the board to act as chair just part­way through his first term.

“I think that that abil­ity to sit there at that ta­ble, and make de­ci­sions that af­fect 460,000 peo­ple, and have tens of mil­lions of dol­lars rid­ing on those de­ci­sions, I think it cre­ates a level of con­fi­dence that can help when you’re at a ta­ble like Wool­wich Town­ship. So I think my ex­pe­ri­ence at the school board is the thing that dis­tin­guishes me against the peo­ple who are so far nom­i­nated to run in Ward 1,” he said.

McMil­lan, an Elmira res­i­dent, pre­vi­ously worked as a ju­nior hockey coach, and is cur­rently an as­so­ciate fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor at the Co­op­er­a­tors in Elmira. PA­TRICK MER­LI­HAN Pa­trick Mer­li­han, the in­cum­bent for town­ship’s Ward 1, is seek­ing a se­cond term in of­fice. The founder and co-owner of the Wool­wich Ob­server, the Elmira res­i­dent is keen to bring a dis­cern­ing eye and crit­i­cal voice to the town­ship’s dayto-day gov­er­nance.

Dur­ing his four years in the po­si­tion, Mer­li­han notes that he kept to his prom­ises and fought for con­stituents in­ter­ests, though not al­ways to sat­is­fac­tory ends.

“They’re not all high­lights,” he said, of his ef­forts. “That’s the un­for­tu­nate part.”

Mer­li­han said he led the charge on sav­ing the lo­cal trans­fer sta­tions, which were ul­ti­mately closed by the re­gional gov­ern­ment de­spite his ef­forts. Pub­lic trans­porta­tion has been an­other chal­leng­ing port­fo­lio, he notes, with re­gional in­ter­ests of­ten trump­ing those of the town­ship. Mer­li­han is keen to con­tinue push­ing for lo­cal res­i­dents’ con­cerns, how­ever.

“What I bring to the ta­ble is more than 25 years in me­dia, in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions busi­ness. I bring a busi­ness back­ground, which I use ev­ery time we sit at the coun­cil ta­ble. I bring the abil­ity to ask the per­ti­nent ques­tions and get re­sults for res­i­dents when they do have is­sues with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” he said.

“Prob­a­bly my big­gest as­set is, com­ing from a back­ground in the me­dia. As jour­nal­ists when we craft sto­ries we come from a po­si­tion where we start with the facts and truth, and build our story around those. As politi­cians, you start with an idea and then try and find the facts that are go­ing to sup­port your idea.”

WARD 2

FRED RE­DEKOP Fred Re­dekop is an­other new­comer to the po­lit­i­cal race for Ward 2 in Wool­wich. A for­mer pas­tor at the Flo­radale Men­non­ite Church, Re­dekop is in­ter­ested in con­tribut­ing to the com­mu­nity as a mem­ber of coun­cil.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity for me to learn about pol­i­tics and for me to give back to the com­mu­nity,” said Re­dekop, who is now re­tired.

He said he hopes to bring a so­cially minded per­spec­tive to town­ship coun­cil meet­ings, gar­nered through his many years of ex­pe­ri­ence with the church.

“I bring to the ta­ble an abil­ity to lis­ten. I was a pas­tor at the same church for the last 25 years, so I know the art of lis­ten­ing well to peo­ple, the art of com­pro­mise and the art of work­ing to­gether,” he said.

Cur­rently a res­i­dent of Elmira, liv­ing out­side the Ward 2 boundaries, Re­dekop pre­vi­ously lived in Flo­radale for 24 years where he raised his fam­ily and worked. He’s vol­un­teered with a num­ber of or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing coach­ing house league sports, as well as with so­cial ser­vice groups.

“I’m a com­mu­nity per­son,” he said. “I’ve sat on Wool­wich Coun­selling [Cen­tre] board for al­most nine years, which is a so­cial ser­vice agency in town. I served on the lo­cal col­lege board at the Univer­sity of Wa­ter­loo as a vol­un­teer, the Con­rad Grebel Univer­sity Col­lege board.”

If elected, Re­dekop will re­place the in­cum­bent coun­cilor Mark Bau­man, who will be step­ping down this term from the po­si­tion.

ERIC SCH­WINDT A new­comer to the po­lit­i­cal arena, Eric Sch­windt is run­ning for his first term as Wool­wich Ward 2 coun­cil­lor. A long-time res­i­dent of the town­ship and busi­ness owner, Sch­windt would like to fos­ter the eco­nomic and en­tre­pre­neur­ial cap­i­tal of his com­mu­nity.

“I like to ask the ques­tion, how can we make life eas­ier for busi­ness in Wool­wich? To at­tract busi­ness, to make them want to grow, make life eas­ier more com­pet­i­tive,” said Sch­windt

“In the past I’ve seen a few in­stances where I think that maybe we haven’t opened our arms as well as we could have,” he says. “And in to­day’s econ­omy, my be­lief is that fund­ing from the prov­ince and the feds is go­ing to de­crease over time, and maybe quickly. So as a town­ship we got to be creative and open our arms a lit­tle bit to busi­ness.”

Sch­windt, who lives north of Elmira, is the owner of Genex On­tario, which sells breed­ing stock to farm­ers across the prov­ince. He also serves on the board of the On­tario Pork or­ga­ni­za­tion’s board, and coaches mi­nor hockey in Wool­wich. He ran for coun­cil in 2010, but failed to un­seat in­cum­bent Mark Bau­man, who is re­tir­ing from the po­si­tion at the end of the term af­ter 18 years.

Julie-Anne Herteis

Scott McMil­lan

Fred Re­dekop

Pa­trick Mer­li­han

Eric Sch­windt

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