Chatham man wants to give power back to the people

Jul 10 • Feature Story, Local NewsNo Comments on Chatham man wants to give power back to the people

 A Chatham man has added his name as a contender for Mayor of Chatham-Kent, wanting to give the people a voice.

Robert Powers, 27, filed his nomination papers last week, bringing the total of mayoral candidates to four so far.

It is time that the people of my community are empowered and given a voice. I have a clear vision and direct professional and educational experience to make this happen,” Powers said in a statement.

Powers worked for the Canadian government in several capacities, including Canada Post and Canada Border Services Agency, as well as the Province of Ontario with the Ontario Trillium Foundation. He recently completed a Master of Public Policy – With Distinction from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Windsor and an Honours Specialization Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario.

“I want my fellow citizens to know that I am motivated to act from the heart. The number one thing I want to do is to give the people the power. Chatham-Kent is my hometown. I was born two blocks away from where I currently reside, on the bank of the Thames River in Chatham. We are a great, big community and I want to help us grow even closer,” Powers added.

He said what really motivated him to run for mayor was the first time he drove by members of the Water Wells First group protesting for the right to clean water.

“What really got me was driving to work one day on Countryview Line when I saw people exercising their civil liberties crying out for clean water here in Chatham-Kent. That really moved me and I knew I had to do something to help people in my community,” Powers explained. “As the Mayor of Chatham-Kent, I would absolutely enforce the rule of law, but to see that absolutely blew me away.”

The candidate said that problem, and every other serious problem in the municipality, is because people don’t have a voice.

“It’s always the government that is deciding which way we’re going and it should be the people leading the way and I want to give a voice to those people.”

One way of making sure those voted into office listen to the people, Powers said, is to give people the option of removing a council member from office.

“Through citizens’ initiative, if you get enough signatures on a page, you should be able to have a recall vote and recall the mayor or a councilor. It should be up to the people; this is a democracy. There are other jurisdictions in Canada where that happens and I want to give the people the power here,” he said. “People should have the control.”

Powers also said it is time to fix the problems of amalgamation and time that council is brought to the people. He proposes regular council sittings across the community; taking them to Wallaceburg, Ridgetown, Dresden, Tilbury and more.

“If it takes folding tables in the back of a pick-up truck I want you to know that I am going to make it happen: I am going to bring your municipal government to your front door,” he noted. “Even though I’m young, I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and it’s my responsibility to make things better. That’s why I’m stepping up here.”

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