By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Andy Fisher wants to help Chatham-Kent make a comeback.
The 31-year-old truck driver recently threw his hat into the ring to become Chatham-Kent’s top elected official as he believes he can best represent “the average person.
“I am someone who represents the majority, who are hard-working, average people,” Fisher told The Chatham Voice.
“I want the people of Chatham-Kent to know there’s more than one option.”
Now that Fisher announced his intentions, it’s a two-horse race for mayor. The political newcomer is the first opponent to challenge incumbent Darrin Canniff for the mayor’s chair.
Born in London and raised in Highgate, Fisher has called Chatham home since he was 17. He ended up in the city after his mentally ill mother lost their family home.
With help from kind neighbours and the Salvation Army, Fisher and his brother established themselves in Chatham.
He knows what hard times mean and what it takes to overcome them.
“It was a pretty stressful time,” he said, when the sheriff arrived and “kicked them out of their house.”
However, Fisher said the experience helps him “understand the underdog 100 per cent.”
That understanding has prompted him to make affordable housing his number one priority, with jobs a close second.
Fisher said he wants Chatham-Kent to grow economically, attracting enterprise rather than watching it leave the municipality.
“Ever since I was a kid, businesses have been leaving,” he said, citing the loss of The Wheels and Navistar as major blows to Chatham-Kent.
“My goal overall is to have us bounce back,” Fisher explained, adding he wants to bring more entertainment here.
“That’s the number one complaint I hear from people in my age group.”
As for the Imagine Kent proposal to repurpose the Downtown Chatham Centre into a new city hall, library and a new hockey arena, Fisher said he’s all for it.
“I think it is a good idea,” he added, noting it may be more “economically sound” to proceed with the project rather than fix up aging buildings.
Fisher has worked a number of jobs, including security guard and most recently truck driving, which he’s done for the past five years.
He said he mulled over his decision to run for the past month.
Then he said he gathered the necessary signatures and “decided to go for it.”
In his downtime, the single Fisher likes to hit the gym and the water. He fishes and kayaks and recently got into kickboxing.
“I’m just an average guy,” Fisher said. “I like to watch movies and play video games just like everybody else.”
The nomination period is open until Aug. 19, with the election to take place Oct. 24.