Grits go with Om­stead again

Fed­eral party’s nom­i­nee in Chatham-Ken­tLeam­ing­ton fin­ished close sec­ond in 2015

The Chatham Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - TREVOR TERFLOTH

TILBURY — After a strong show­ing three years ago, the fed­eral Lib­eral nom­i­nee for ChathamKent-Leam­ing­ton will again carry the ban­ner in 2019.

Katie Om­stead was of­fi­cially ac­claimed dur­ing a nom­i­na­tion meet­ing at the Knights of Colum­bus Hall Thurs­day night.

Ssay­ing she was “hum­bled, hon­oured and grate­ful” for the sec­ond chance, she vowed to con­tinue lis­ten­ing and learn­ing from those in the rid­ing.

“I will con­tinue to be hon­est and I will con­tinue to be frank,” she said.

In 2015, when Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s Lib­er­als won a ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment, Om­stead fin­ished with 19,351 votes, sec­ond to Con­ser­va­tive MP Dave Van Kesteren, who had 21,677 votes. New Demo­crat Tony Walsh had 9,549 votes.

Van Kesteren is not seek­ing re-elec­tion.

Om­stead cred­ited her team on the ground for mak­ing it a close race, but added there is still much work to do.

“The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is mak­ing real progress,” she said. “And to­gether we can keep build­ing a bet­ter fu­ture for ChathamKent-Leam­ing­ton res­i­dents, for Cana­dian fam­i­lies.”

The 34-year-old ele­men­tary school teacher was born and raised in Chatham-Kent, and now lives with her hus­band and young daugh­ter in Leam­ing­ton.

She co-founded the grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion Leam­ing­ton Stands Strong, and ded­i­cates time to such is­sues as poverty re­duc­tion, hu­man rights, new­comer set­tle­ment and anti-hu­man traf­fick­ing ini­tia­tives.

Om­stead­said­in­her­timein­var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties, she has heard “mes­sages of hope and mes­sages of de­spair.”

After her speech Thurs­day, Om­stead said some peo­ple are dis­il­lu­sioned with pol­i­tics — par­tic­u­larly be­cause of what they see in the U.S. — but added that res­i­dents still have con­cerns in the rid­ing, cit­ing jobs and ero­sion as ex­am­ples.

To­gether we can keep build­ing a bet­ter fu­ture for Chatham-Ken­tLeam­ing­ton res­i­dents, for Cana­dian fam­i­lies.” Katie Om­stead, above,

Lib­eral can­di­date

Other pri­or­i­ties for her in­clude health care, men­tal health ser­vices, se­niors and vet­er­ans.

Om­stead said al­though there has been progress at the na­tional level, there needs to be change lo­cally.

“In our com­mu­nity though, the time has come to elect a Lib­eral MP, so that we can have a seat at the ta­ble in Ot­tawa, so that we can have a strong voice to rep­re­sent us,” she said. “I know the con­di­tions for growth are right here in Chatham-Kent-Leam­ing­ton.”

As for Van Kesteren not run­ning again, Om­stead ad­mit­ted it will be a change this time around, but added she al­ways fo­cuses on her cam­paign and the peo­ple.

Leam­ing­ton farmer Dave Epp won the Con­ser­va­tive nom­i­na­tion for the rid­ing last month, while the NDP has yet to nom­i­nate a can­di­date. tter­[email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/Dai­lyNewsTT

TREVOR TERFLOTH/THE DAILY NEWS

Katie Om­stead was ac­claimed as the fed­eral Lib­eral can­di­date in Chatham-Kent-Leam­ing­ton dur­ing a nom­i­na­tion meet­ing in Tilbury on Thurs­day. In 2015, she fin­ished a close sec­ond to Con­ser­va­tive MP Dave Van Kesteren, who isn’t seek­ing re-elec­tion.

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