By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
For the first time, Oshawa MPP Jennifer French will be defending her seat at Queen’s Park after being officially acclaimed as the NDP’s candidate for the 2018 provincial election.
French, elected in 2014, defeated long-time Progressive Conservative candidate Jerry Ouellette who had held the seat since 1995. French captured nearly 47 percent of the vote.
Now that it’s official, French says it has her starting to look back over the last three years, while also turning her mind to next June when Oshawa voters will once again take to the polls.
“When I was starting this journey three years ago and putting yourself out there, you imagine what it’s for, you imagine what it’s going to be and now, three years later, I’m going into this with eyes wide open,” she says. “There is that recommitting to what we’re doing right now and what I want us to be able to continue to do.”
Since her election, French has held many roles at Queen’s Park, starting off as the pensions critic in 2014, then moving to the critic for community safety and correctional services, before her current roles as the critic for citizenship and immigration and youth engagement critic.
French has also spent time dedicated to hydro issues, collecting bills from Oshawa residents to deliver to Premier Kathleen Wynne to illustrate the struggle with rates faced by many in the city.
“We are working genuinely and really, really hard to represent folks in our community,” she says. “I’m in this because I can’t imagine not continuing the work.”
French will be going up against a familiar face come campaign time as the PCs have already named long-time regional and city councillor Bob Chapman as their candidate.
“Bob and I have always had good conversations to this point, so that’ll continue in our community,” French says, adding that she believes voters will recognize the hard work she’s put in. “I think Oshawa is going to recognize that they have strong representation. That already know that.”
While an official date has yet to be set for the election, it must occur on or before June 7, 2018. The Liberals have yet to name a candidate for the election.