It’s the end of an era for federal MP Dave Van Kesteren, who announced he will not be seeking re-election after three terms in office.
While his legacy to Chatham-Kent isn’t the stuff books are written about, he has been a loyal, hard-working advocate of all things local, fighting for a share of federal funding dollars for business, education infrastructure and charitable organizations.
For individuals, his office has helped thousands with passports, questions about federal programs and grants, and he has attended enough teas, socials and kick offs to make the average person’s head spin.
Committing to life of public service isn’t easy, especially if you are doing it right. Van Kesteren only missed one vote in the House of Commons and that is because his son was critically ill.
Putting political stripes aside, his dedication to his constituents is something most people will agree was one of his most admirable traits.
Milestones for the MP include bringing more than a third of a billion dollars of federal funding to the riding, for projects such as the Leamington Waste Water Treatment Plant, upgraded facilities for both Ridgetown and St. Clair colleges, local conservation authorities, manufacturing business expansions, Chatham-Kent Women’s Shelter, new bio-energy research, Point Pelee National Park, Mary Webb Centre in Highgate, and tomato research.
It’s not easy to make the decision to not only put yourself out there to run for public office, but to commit the money, time and family sacrifice to do a good job if you are elected. Many times, the job will come before family birthdays, anniversaries and vacations, and no matter how hard you work, there will always be people who think you aren’t doing enough.
Van Kesteren has always shown himself to be honest, hard-working and a staunch advocate for his constituents, and for that, we thank him for sacrificing 12 years of his family life to public service.
We should also thank Faye and the kids as well for sharing him with us over the years, because as they say, behind every good man is a woman, and kids, and grandkids and great grandkids…