Richard St. Denis
2022 Windsor Election Rose City Politics Candidate Questionnaire answers:
1. What is your prior political experience?
I am currently President of Windsor Regional Environment Council representing 165,000 active and retired members. Our mandate is to influence political decision makers. I have been involved with influencing decision makers on several levels since high school.
2. Why are you running?
My goal is to make Ward 5 better and be a strong voice at both Council and Budget tables. Safety has to be a top priority including Vision Zero. We also need more work on quality of life issues in Ford City. We have a Transit Master Plan adopted by Council that is not moving fast enough. It is a good plan that needs action. We have plenty of good plans that need more immediate action.
3. What do you do currently for a living?
I am retired from Ward 5 largest employer, Windsor Assembly. During my time I won several awards for initiatives and cost saving without cutting jobs. I organized planting over 1500 trees in the Ward at no cost to the employer. Also now working part time for Arbor Memorial.
4. What is the biggest issue affecting the ward you are running for?
Biggest issue is lack of communication. This means speaking up for Ward 5 at all levels, not just once it reaches Council meeting. Voting has to be on an issue by issue basis. It should not be predetermined by what the Mayor always wants done. It also means listening to resident concerns and responding in a timely manner.
5. What is the biggest issue affecting the City of Windsor?
Biggest issue for Windsor is affordability. Inflation has put squeeze on families.
6. Are you seeking any endorsements?
Yes. I seek endorsement whenever possible.
7. Have you received any endorsements?
Unifor Local 444: President Dave Cassidy: Unifor Local 444 Retiree Chapter; President Peter Pellerito.
8. Will you continue the “hold the line on taxes” policy?
Hold line on taxes? I think we need to think outside the box. First look for new sources of revenue such as increased development. Then we need to be responsible with budget. Most residents would prefer a small increase over zero if services need to be cut to achieve zero. Council directs departments to present budgets with cuts they know won’t get approved. We need to use departments resources wisely. I graduated from St.Clair College accounting program at the top of my class. Immediately I was hired by my Professor to work in his practice. I understand budgets and finances.
9. Do you support the mega-hospital location?
Absolutely 💯 % support Mega Hospital. We need it as quickly as possible. But we also need services in the downtown as well. We can have both. We must have both.
10. Do you support strong mayor legislation?
Do not support Strong Mayor legislation. If things need to happen quickly, Council meets at least twice a month. We elect 11 people at the table, not just one.
11. Should the city use taxpayers dollars to bring jobs to the area?
City should do everything possible to attract and retain jobs including using tax dollars. Other jurisdictions do this. If we don’t, we risk jobs going elsewhere.
12. If you are running in a ward with an incumbent who is also running, why is change necessary, and why are you the person to deliver it?
Ward 5 has an incumbent. We don’t see enough action or results. It took 10+ years for traffic calming study on Drouillard. Safety must be a priority. Traffic Calming budget had pre-approved dollars waiting on study that still has not seen any action. Part of the plan was Streetscaping. Absolutely ask for full amount. But finance said no and Drouillard got zero. Needed a plan B: plan C and plan D. Best chance to get something for Streetscaping is never give up at first denial. Negotiate to try achieving something.
There has been not enough response in a timely manner to resident concerns. (I have several examples). For 30 years I don’t just accept “no” as the answer. Always ask “why” to see if “yes” is a better answer.
My first delegation at Council was when Mike Hurst was Mayor. I have been a delegate to every Mayor and Council since many times, especially at budget time. I can do so much for if elected from the other side of the table with decision makers.
13. How many hours per week do you plan to allocate towards council business if elected?
This is listed as a part time job. I will do whatever is necessary to take action and get results. But anyone working 60 hours a week should have delivered much for Ward 5 than we have seen in the last 4 years. Showing up to meetings is only the first step. Delivering voice for the Ward and results for the residents is more important.
14. Do you live in the ward you are running for?
I have lived with my wife and son in Ward 5 for 22 years where I own my home. I also drive a minivan made in the heart of Ward 5.
15. What agencies, boards, or committees do/have you served on, and in what capacity?
I am currently a City Council appointed delegate to the Windsor Essex County Environment Committee. Now serving my second term on Windsor District Labour Council. I have previously served on a number of non city Boards, Councils and Committes including Lake Erie Region Director and Treasurer. I have also served the community as Area Captain for two years on June 27 Miracle. Volunteered 21 years with Scouts Canada. Helped Downtown Mission raise food and funds, as well as many other roles in community building and support.
16. What person, animal or fictional character should be Windsor’s unofficial mascot?
Mascot should be one of the migratory birds that come to Windsor. We attract tourists of all kinds to our region.