Mark Authier, the owner and operator of The Instant Print Shoppe in Wallaceburg, was elected to represent Ward 1 – West Kent.
The Tilbury resident finished second in the voting with 1,291 votes, good for 26.61% of the vote. He finished behind incumbent Coun. Bryon Fluker and ahead of Kathy Cottingham, who finished third in the voting.
Authier said he’ll have an understanding of the issues effecting Wallaceburg when he casts his votes.
“Obviously the hospital here in town is a huge project that we do need to keep here,” Authier told the Sydenham Current. “I’m afraid people may take it for granted because it is here. I’ve used it a few times myself. It’s a necessity I believe in town here, not having to drive all the way to Chatham for any emergency. It’s all related across Chatham-Kent, we’re just short of skilled labour everywhere.”
Authier added: “Of course jobs here (in Wallaceburg,) that would of course help my business. As far as skilled labour goes here too…they just can’t seem to find enough people with those skills.”
With long-time West Kent Coun. Brian King announcing he would not be seeking re-election, Authier said he knew he had a better chance at being elected.
“I was hoping to be elected but I was quite surprised to be elected in my first attempt,” he said. “With Brian King retiring, there was an opening there for us. I think it would have been pretty hard if he had come back to take his seat. He did a lot for us don’t get me wrong, but it was nice to have a chance to get in.”
Authier said he is going to focus on job during this term of council.
“Everyone on council will be focusing on that,” he said. “With the lack of jobs we have more poverty and of course taxes are higher because there is not as many people to tax and businesses to tax.”
Authier added: “Hopefully we’ll stop the outflow of people in Chatham-Kent. I’m going to focus on getting kids in high school to realize what skilled jobs are in Chatham-Kent that need to be filled. We have over 6,000 people unemployed and not a single one of them can fill one of the over 250 skilled-labour jobs that we have. I want to work with them and see about working with St. Clair College as well, and of course businesses as well as far as apprenticeship programs go.”
Authier said he is going to give a 100 per cent effort with his new position.
“I hope to do the job that everyone wants me to do,” he said. “I will definitely be giving 100 per cent. I didn’t promise anything because I know you need 10 votes to get stuff through, but I did say I would work as hard as I could for everyone in my area and for Chatham-Kent and I definitely will be doing that.”
For a full recap of the Chatham-Kent election, check out this story: Chatham-Kent Election 2014 recap