The race to be the next mayor of Oshawa has its first entrant.
Current regional and city councillor Dan Carter kicked off his campaign on June 12 during an event downtown at the Cork and Bean.
First elected to council in 2014, Carter told supporters that current Mayor John Henry had encouraged him to “pick up the baton and move forward.”
“He told me, ‘We need your ideas, your enthusiasm and your vision. I want you to carry on because the work is still not complete.’ He believes, like I believe, that our best days are always in front of us.”
Carter describes himself as having a “socialist heart, conservative head and a lot of liberal friends.”
The “socialist heart” comes from days in Carter’s past, one which he’s been very open about.
“Twenty-seven years ago, I was a severe alcoholic and drug addict,” he remarked.
“Those days taught me a lot about how I need to serve as a public servant on behalf of those who do not have a voice…those who struggle day in and day out,” Carter said. “Those individuals who are lost in our community, those who are suffering with mental health and addiction issues, those that are fighting alcoholism, when we serve them at the very highest level it shows we are the best we can be in our community.”
As chair of the city’s finance committee, Carter says he has learned that progress must come in a “smart, methodical, paced way.”
He noted said the City of Oshawa has been able to pay down its external debt significantly over the past two terms.
“We, over the past eight years, and especially the past four years, have seen our debt go to $118 million and by the end of the year, December 31, it will be $79 million,” he said.
“What does that mean? It means that more dollars are going to services, programs, parks, community centres, and senior centres instead of debt servicing,” Carter continued. “We need to continue to ensure we pay our debt down, build up our reserves, and ensure this community is the most affordable. And when I say affordable, we have to think about each and every thing that every family faces.”
Carter said the city is committed to a financial strategic plan that will “see us have the strongest financial foundation of all municipalities across the Region of Durham.”
Lastly, Carter says he wants to serve as mayor because he feels he owes a tremendous amount of gratitude to the City of Oshawa.
“You’ve given me the opportunity to be bad and the opportunity to get better. You’ve given me the opportunity to invest and the opportunity to have my family [here]. I owe this community and you a great deal.”
The former television broadcaster vowed to provide a voice to all residents of the city.
“I believe hearing from every corner of our community makes us a better local government. Your voice matters because that helps us with planning, helps us with priorities, helps us to make sure we have the right resources in the right places,” he says. “The next great idea, the next business, and the next opportunity await us once we’ve heard from you.”