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Councillor Mark Gerretsen is reaching for a new goal the Mayor of Kingston after serving a four year term as councillor for the Portsmouth District.
The fact that his father John Gerretsen is MPP for Kingston and the Islands did not influence his decision to enter politics.
(Editor's note: This is the first in a series of profiles on the Kingston mayoral candidates running in the Oct. 25 municipal election.)
Gerretsen says that the people of Kingston should vote for him because he believes that he brings a balanced approach to both government and the city.
"Bringing jobs to the city will help every taxpayer and helps the economic engine in general."
surrounded by politics my entire life, and as far back as I can remember my father has been involved, so it has always been a part of me. As I look back at my childhood I can remember instances of me becoming aware of the political world even though I didn't realize it at the time," he says.
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The achievement Gerretsen is most proud of during his term on council is the revitalization plans for Lake Ontario Park, a place he frequented as he was growing up. Progress didn't come quickly; it took four years his entire council term to get the plans to a level where it could be passed by council.
The park will once again centre around family and children and include a splash pad, beachfront area, canoe and kayaking, a pavilion for social events, and lots of open space. There are plans for a synthetic ice pad so people can skate year round.
"I am in this race to tell people my story and why they should vote for me. I hope, with the support of Kingstonians, I will be elected. No matter what, I will be engaged in Kingston. I think it is a wonderful place to live."
"The park was a family oriented place and we saw that deteriorate over the years until the point it was almost abandoned."
As mayor, Gerretsen plans to establish a mayor's task force on green and renewable jobs and the development and attraction of those jobs to Kingston.
Gerretsen running for mayor of Kingston
He decided to run for council in 2006 after talking politics with a friend who worked for the city.
"I always says that I would never get involved in this. My Dad has a reputation in the city and is respected by a lot of people, and I admire that but it was never something that drew me into getting involved," he says.
lessen the burden on taxpayers," he says.
Addressing the tax system in particular tax increases overhauling the budgeting system and the management of those issues are also part of his plan. He says that the provincial and federal governments need a push to ensure that Kingston has a more balanced tax base of 60/40 (residential/industrial/commercial) rather than the existing 70/30 ratio.
These two issues go hand in hand, he states, and keeping money in the pockets of the taxpayers will help everyone in the long run. Taking these steps will lead to a prosperous municipality which in turn provides money to invest in social and cultural programs and a better quality of life, he says.
to attend Queen's University and the University of Toronto where he earned a degree in Economics. He lives with his partner, Kate, and dog Otis in Calvin Park, which is part of his Portsmouth riding.
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Gerretsen, 35, is the middle child of John and Assunta Gerretsen, and was born and raised in Kingston. He attended Regiopolis Notre Dame Catholic High School and went on White Adidas Long Sleeve Shirt
The decision came as a big shock to his parents.
"If we can bring the community leaders together and determine what we need from an infrastructure point of view, from an incentive point of view, and what tools are needed to make this a reality, it will be a tremendous benefit to the city because not only are we bringing jobs into Kingston, it will also help our tax base," he says.
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