Facing his first electoral race since 2000, Woolwich Mayor Bill Strauss says he’s happy to run on his record. He dismissed his challenger’s claims the township needs new ideas and leadership at the head of council.
“I think we are proactive. Look at that new building (Woolwich Memorial Centre): we listened to the people. We listen to everyone.
“I think we have a pretty good record to go on,” he said in an interview this week, reacting to remarks made by Elmira businessman Todd Cowan in announcing his candidacy.
While prepared for an election, Strauss said he was surprised Cowan was making a bid for his job instead of running for a council seat.
“I would like to see him run for council first and get some training, then run [for mayor] when I’m ready to step down.”
In response, Cowan said he decided to run for mayor rather than a council position because “we have to have change at the top – that’s where we need it most.”
In the face of growing challenges, Cowan said the township can no longer make do with reactive leadership dealing with issues strictly on a piecemeal basis.
“We need to be proactive. We should have policies in place rather than waiting for things to happen then reacting with a lack of leadership.”
With the campaign for the Oct. 25 municipal election in the early stages, Strauss identified property taxes as a priority. Noting Woolwich taxes are second lowest in Waterloo Region, he said he hopes to keep them that way.
“Dollars mean an awful lot to me – I was trained that way in business.”
He also points to a new Hwy. 7 corridor between Kitchener and Guelph as longstanding issue in need of resolution.
Strauss expects to run a low-key campaign, highlighting his experience. He’s been mayor since 1997, contesting that year’s election and again in 2000. He was acclaimed in 2003 and 2006.
“I’m out there. I want to be mayor for one more term anyway,” he said. “The only promise I make is that I’ll continue to be here for the people.”
For his part, Cowan is making use of the internet – a website (www.vision4woolwich.com), Facebook and Twitter – to roll out a platform and invite public input.
“My strategy is to come to the people with a proactive plan, to lead this township, to get it back on the rails,” said Cowan, stressing the need for a vision for the future.
The online presence has allowed Cowan to get an immediate response from the public. He’s getting 10 or 15 messages per day in response to his campaign.
“I’m getting lots of support, plenty of good feedback and lots of volunteers who want to help out.”