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Kathleen Rochon is West Nipissing’s first mayoral candidate

Rochon is ready to run and looks forward to unifying community
Kathleen Rochon
Kathleen Rochon is ready to run for mayor of West Nipissing / Photo supplied

It’s municipal election time this coming October, and Kathleen Thorne Rochon is running for mayor of West Nipissing. She’s the first candidate out of the gate. One of her campaign slogans is “let’s put the UNITY back in Community,” and she looks forward to working with residents, council members and municipal staff to “build synergies and get things done.”

Rochon’s goal is to “bring a fresh perspective to municipal leadership” based upon four pillars: common sense, collaboration, facilitation, and fairness. With these forming the cornerstones of her vision, “I believe that we can build our community by creating an environment where council, municipal staff and citizens are encouraged and motivated to work together” for the betterment of West Nipissing.

Besides striving to bring people and ideas together for the common good, Rochon is eager to get down to business and delve into the municipality’s policies and procedures. “I’m a bit of a policy geek,” she joked, adding that discussing municipal, provincial, and federal policy is often the subject of conversation around her table.

Planning and zoning issues, economic and community development, tapping into federal and provincial funding streams, are all topics she’s happy to tackle, and she’s also looking forward to modernizing a few policies to help prepare the municipality for growth.

Rochon has not sat on council, but she has a lot of experience on local boards and committees. She is a former president of the West Nipissing Chamber of Commerce, a former member of West Nipissing Economic Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Sturgeon River House Museum Advisory Committee.

Before this, she served as the Northern Development Advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and has decades of experience as an events and marketing co-ordinator. She’s worked on campaigns for the Niagara Wine Festival, and organized events and programs during her time at the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.

Rochon seems happiest when bringing people together, and her experiences have given her an understanding of the importance of municipal politics, and how the policies passed at the municipal level affect local organizations, businesses, and the day to day lives of residents.

While working in Niagara, circa 2007, Kathleen met her future husband, Francois Rochon, who was also working in Niagara. However, Rochon has deep family roots in West Nipissing and when the couple paid a weekend visit to West Nipissing, they decided to stay. The couple moved to the area in 2009, “and immediately I was drawn to find ways to get involved in our community,” she said.

Since the big move, Rochon has also been watching council meetings, and would “take note of the various organizations and individuals that contributed to building our community.” These meetings helped her get to know the area better and make contacts with people trying to make a difference.

As a dedicated policy person, she also kept tabs on council motions and decisions affecting the community, “and when I disagreed with a decision, or witnessed behaviour that I felt was counterproductive I would speak out,” to councillors via email or write to the newspaper with her opinions.

“I am passionate about good governance and good policy,” she emphasized, “and I believe that the vision that I bring to those issues is exactly what we as a community need at this moment.” For Rochon, the position of mayor is really “about bringing people together,” and “bringing out the best in the people around you” for the common good.

Although in the early stages of her campaign, Rochon is ready and eager to run. Her website will be ready to go soon, and in the meantime, you can follow her campaign on her Facebook page @Rochon4Mayor.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs

About the Author: David Briggs

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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