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Henry elected as next regional chair

Outgoing Oshawa Mayor John Henry has been elected as Durham’s next regional chair. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Outgoing Oshawa Mayor John Henry is moving up in the political world after his election as Durham’s new regional chair and CEO.

He is the sixth person to hold the position.

On winning the election, Henry said, “I am so proud of the team that I had. Of all of my volunteers, all of my friends that are here tonight.”

Henry has served as Oshawa’s mayor for the last eight years, and was a councillor before that. He is also the owner of Office Products and Services, an Oshawa-based company.

Henry will replace Gerri Lynn O’Connor as regional chair, who had occupied the position since April when she took over for the late Roger Anderson. O’Connor will vacate the position on Nov. 30.

This was only the second time the position was voted by residents.

Henry won the position confidently, receiving 69,804 voters for 54.99 per cent of the ballot. Tom Dingwall finished second with 25,662 votes, John Mutton third at 16,795 and Peter Neal fourth with 8,324. Muhammad Ahsin Sahi placed last with 6,346 votes.

Henry says that his first action as regional chair-elect “will be to talk to all of the mayors-elect, just to say hi, and immediately make a phone call – we have a new CAO starting in the region – introduce myself, and that’ll be how I start tomorrow.”

The election wasn’t easy for Henry, as he says he knocked on approximately 40,000 doors around Durham, and lost many pounds in the process.

He also says, “This has not been the campaign that you would normally see. It’s been really… Yeah, it’s been a tough campaign all the way around.”

Henry was proud to say that his team never crossed into a negative space.

He was met at the door of Avanti Trattoria, a restaurant in Oshawa, by chants of his name, as well as his wife and one of his daughters.

In reference to the weight Henry lost while knocking on doors, Lloyd Rang, one of the volunteers on Henry’s team, says, “He is literally half the man he was when this campaign started. That is how hard he works.”

Henry will take over for O’Connor as regional chair on Dec. 1.