By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa Mayor John Henry has officially thrown his name in the ring to become Durham Region’s next regional chair.
Henry filed his nomination papers on May 14 as he looks to make the jump from the head of the table in Oshawa council chambers to the top role at the region.
“It’s exciting, it’s a great opportunity to work on all the projects that we’ve brought forward, including the releasing of the employment lands along the 407, reminding the province that the tolls on the 412 and 418 shouldn’t exist and working with our colleagues to continue to make Durham a great place to live,” Henry says. “It’s a great time for the Region of Durham and I think that we’re the next powerhouse for the province of Ontario.”
Along with that, Henry says that addressing the issue of energy prices in Durham will be a priority.
“I’m proud to say that is a topic of conversation during this provincial election and that you can imagine with fair hydro rates, with the talent pool that we have here in the Region of Durham, what we could do on the world stage right here. We only need to be given the same fair opportunities as other places to compete and we can really make a difference in the province.”
Henry was first elected as a regional councillor in 2006 before a successful bid saw him take over the mayor’s chair in 2010. In 2014, he was reelected to the role, picking up approximately 49 per cent of the vote.
The next regional chair will replace Gerri Lynn O’ Connor, who was appointed in April following the death of Roger Anderson, who held the role for 21 years before he died in March.
As Anderson was known to be a tireless advocate for Durham, Henry is aware that if successful in his bid, he will need to make sure Durham continues to garner the attention of the upper levels of government.
“It’s essential that we have those good relationships, but it’s also essential that we’re heard. Durham Region is a huge land area with over 650,000 people and growing and the economic impact to the province of Ontario from this region is huge, and we have a voice and at both levels of government they need to know that the Durham Region, we keep the lights on in Toronto, we feed the people in Ontario, we make the greatest cars in the country, and we have advanced education and one of the largest healthcare networks in all of Canada,” he says. “I look forward to making Durham the topic of conversation in this province. It’s eight municipalities coming together to make that perfect pie and not one of us stands on our own, but together we can do great things.”
Currently, only one other candidate has filed papers for the position, that being former mayor of Clarington John Mutton who was the first to indicate his interest in the spot.