A lead hand at an area plastics factory and a Canadian Army Reservist with the rank of Captain, James Montgomery feels he has the leadership qualities to make a good city councillor.
The recent death of a family member spurred Montgomery to seek one of 10 councillor spots in Stratford in the October municipal election.
“My mother-in-law (Linda Anderson) passed away in January,” Montgomery said in an interview with StratfordToday. “It put things into perspective. I decided it is the right time to (run for council).”
Montgomery, who works at TG Minto Corp., a tier one auto parts manufacturer, moved to Stratford in 2010. He lived in Seaforth for a number of years and then moved to Stratford near the end of college.
“I was pretty active in college (politically),” he said. “I ran for the student union. I wanted to get involved in Stratford politics when I moved here but it was too soon.”
Montgomery said fixing roads is one of his top priorities. It comes up in conversations with residents when he mentions that he is running for city council, he said. In the bigger picture, overall infrastructure improvements in the city are important to him, he said.
Green initiatives such as more bike lanes are also important. Montgomery said council needs to take a 'fix it now' approach with climate change, instead of putting things off.
“We need short-term solutions.”
Housing is another big area that will feature in his campaign, including getting more attainable and affordable homes for people.
“Housing is a huge concern.”
Montgomery said city council needs more transparency, noting the cancelled $400 million Xinyi Canada glass plant project. Local opposition groups noted environmental concerns, skirting democratic processes and too many closed-door meetings.
Related to that, Montgomery noted city council won a ‘code of silence award’. It is presented by journalism groups annually to organizations and governments that deny access to information that the public has a right to see.
“Being in the army, and a leader in the factory, you are there to serve the people…it’s about consultation. You ultimately make the decision but it has to be an informed one, you can’t make an informed decision without all the input.”
Montgomery said he is working on campaign plans, including getting volunteers together. He has a Facebook page set-up under: www.facebook.com/JamesRossMontgomery.
“There is more to come, I am working on a communication strategy and door-to-door campaign and anything else we can do to get people motivated to come out and help.”
He is looking forward to talking to the public during the municipal election campaign.
“I would like to talk to anyone who wants to have a respectful conversation.”