Candidate for Ward 2 officially released his platform Wednesday. The Duke camp issued this release to SaultOnline.com
Today is an exciting day in the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Today I release my official campaign platform and my plan on how I can make Sault Ste. Marie a better place to work and live.
Sault Ste. Marie is my home. I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and have lived here my whole life. I am a struggling small business owner and I have a young family. My wife has recently been told that her job as a mail carrier may not exist for much longer and I am directly affected by the economic challenges in this city. I have had enough of the current economic inaction and lack of transparency of our council and I believe the way to make a change is stand up and take action. I have an actual plan on how I can make Sault Ste. Marie better for all of us and I will bring fresh new ideas to the table.
My vision is Accountability, Accessibility and Economic Development and I have a real plan to get there. Unlike other candidates who have broad ideas, I have specifics of what I will do and how I will achieve this.
I will actively promote accountability at City Hall. How will I do this? By publishing my voting record to my website for all to see. By doing so, members of Ward 2 can hold me directly accountable for how I represent them on each and every issue. Furthermore, I will actively seek this as a policy for Council as a whole. If I am elected, I will make Council accountable for their decisions, actions or inactions.
How else will I be accountable? By putting my job on the line. If at any time I receive a petition asking me to step down and it contains more than half of the signatures of the residents of ward 2, I will immediately resign my seat at council. I am willing to go that far to be accountable to the citizens.
Residents in Ward 2 have told me that Council needs to be more accessible to them. I am repeatedly told of how councilors have not returned phone calls or emails from the people in their Wards. I will be accessible. This includes being able to contact me by telephone, e-mail, on johnduke.ca and on Facebook and Twitter. I will be available even on evenings and weekends. If you have a concern, I will immediately make it my concern and do everything I can to address it. I am running for Council because I am frustrated with the lack of accessibility and openness of Council and I will do everything I can do be an outspoken supporter for the residents of Ward 2.
I believe that there is far too little consultation between Council and residents of Sault Ste Marie. Recently, we have seen how a lack of openness from Council has resulted in outrage from residents about matters that they feel are of great importance to them. This is evident with the projected move of the Churchill branch library to the Chilly Willy’s location and with the proposed decision to close our municipal daycare centres. With technology at our disposal, there is no reason we cannot be more connected with the views of our residents. I would like to see the implementation of a polls and referendums on the City’s website to gain insight into the opinions of residents.
As a working resident, I have seen too many friends and colleagues leave Sault Ste. Marie because of the lack of quality employment opportunities. I believe city hall needs to work more closely with the Economic Development Corporation, Innovation Centre and other key stakeholders to promote Sault Ste. Marie as a hub for commerce and industry. This includes a larger fund to assist businesses to relocate to the city as well as actively seeking out businesses from the United States and across Canada to relocate to here.
As a small business owner, I understand that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and are the front line of job creation. We need to work closely to ensure they thrive and grow. This can be accomplished through tax incentives, reducing approval wait times and permit costs, as well as education and awareness programs for businesses. I will also actively lobby other levels of government for continued and increased investment in infrastructure and to promote new development in Sault Ste. Marie.
My hope is that together we can make positive changes and make Sault Ste Marie a place people want to come to work and live. I look forward to working with other like-minded individuals at City Hall and feel that Ward 2 is ready for change.
www.johnduke.ca, www.facebook.com/johndukeforWard2, or on Twitter @johnwbduke