For release: July 26, 2018

Kitchener – Well known community advocate James Howe has entered the race to represent Kitchener’s Ward 3 on city council currently held by 16-year incumbent John Gazzola.

“After two terms dominated by the same voices, Kitchener City Council requires some strong new voices and fresh ideas. Now is the time for change in Ward 3,” said Howe. “Voters who want more than change for the sake of change can confidently vote for me knowing I am well-informed on the issues facing the city and passionate about making Kitchener the best place to live, work and play possible.”

Howe’s priority over the next month is to listen to what is important to Ward 3 voters. He is interested in how they think Kitchener can be a better place and what local issues need attention. He anticipates talking about issues such as making roads that are safer for everyone with a focus on increasing how many people get around by walking or riding a bike, the need for more affordable housing especially near the LRT stations, and the city providing leadership on environmental sustainability such as meeting or exceeding the new local target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He knows how to make a difference. When the Mayfair Hotel was demolished, Howe vowed never again. Through blog posts and social media, he raised awareness that despite being owned by the city the former Legion building at 48 Ontario St. N. had sat empty and unused for more than 15 years. That lead to the formation of the Friends of 48 Ontario that arranged to the building to be in Doors Open Waterloo Region in 2016. Their efforts got the city to make a decision on the building’s future. It decided to sell the property for $1.5 million dollars with half going towards a creative hub for the arts.

Howe recently helped Traynor-Vanier residents get answers on the status of the LRT crossing they have needed for years to restore this Ward 3 neighbourhood’s much needed walkability. When they weren’t pleased with a timeline that pushed the crossing off for another year or more, they held a rally that attracted media attention. As a result, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic arranged for the Chief Administrative Officers of Kitchener and the Region of Waterloo to get involved. Now the crossing is tentatively planned for the spring.

James Howe, 53, is a single father who shares custody of his 11 year old daughter and nine year old son with their mother. They live in Kitchener with their cat. Most of his career has been in a communications role for charities such as Reep Green Solutions, the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank. His communications business’ clients have included international development agency World Accord and Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. He is an active volunteer in many roles including as a columnist for The Community Edition, an organizer of Jane’s Walk Waterloo Region and working on special projects for the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region.

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