Your vote counts.
That’s the powerful lesson learned when I was elected by a single vote in 2010 that I would like to communicate before tomorrow’s election.
And, based on subsequent conversations with hundreds of people convinced that they each cast that winning vote and ongoing interest from students learning about elections and democracy, I like to think the result has helped combat voter apathy while communicating the importance of every vote.
And, believe me, something has to be done about increasing voter cynicism and lack of civic engagement that has created a situation where, last municipal election, only 27 per cent of eligible Kitchener voters bothered to vote for the level of government that surely has the most impact on their communities and daily lives.
My one-vote experience taught me that I owe it to every voter to do what I said I would do — to keep my promises.
It was also a humbling experience that resulted in my darling partner, Sue, calling me “the one-vote wonder” while fellow councillors dubbed me “Landslide Frank.”
No matter, in this election, I propose to double my plurality.
Based on hundreds of doorstep conversations with residents as I canvassed all of Ward 9 during recent weeks along with higher turnouts at advance polls, I have a feeling we are going to witness improved voter interest in tomorrow’s election.
Keeping in mind that local voters will be selecting new mayors as well as a regional chair and councillors in charge of implementing the huge Light Rail Transit project, I certainly hope as many voters as possible make the effort to elect experienced and responsible candidates.
On that note, “accountability” and “transparency” are always popular buzzwords among those who seek your election votes.
On accountability, I have worked for four years and will continue efforts once elected to keep property tax increases below the inflation rate.
I have also ruffled councillor feathers by asking each year that we reduce — not eliminate — taxpayer cash spent by councillors on international conferences and expenses for home-office furniture and high-tech’ home equipment. These are perks provided despite the fact we already have city hall offices complete with high-quality equipment.
On transparency, I will continue to be an advocate of open government, challenging any unreasonable attempt to have council decisions made behind closed doors.
My other ongoing key issues include efforts to upgrade our parks, trails and bicycle infrastructure as well as protection of heritage buildings.
I will advocate to see council create more programs that improve direct financial support for our arts and culture community.
I will continue to support construction of both affordable and transitional housing and increase subsidies for children and seniors who can’t afford Kitchener’s recreational programs.
I will continue to support revitalization of the downtown and, in order to implement and afford these improvements, do more to attract industries, not just high-tech industries, to Kitchener that provide good-paying jobs.
In past weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ward 9 voters as well as your beautiful children (and countless dogs and cats) on doorsteps and front porches. I have also greatly appreciated your kind words about Kitchener articles written during my journalism career.
In this very important election I’m convinced Ward 9 — one of the most vibrant and beautiful in the city — deserves an experienced councillor who is familiar with local issues and committed to protecting our older neighbourhoods.
It’s been an absolute privilege serving you and I ask for your support so we can continue working together.