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Murphy wants second term as Renfrew County warden

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer
Bonnechere Mayor Jennifer Murphy announced Wednesday she is seeking a second term as warden of the County of Renfrew.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Bonnechere Mayor Jennifer Murphy announced Wednesday she is seeking a second term as warden of the County of Renfrew.

 

Jennifer Murphy will be seeking a second term as warden of the County of Renfrew.

The Bonnechere Valley mayor announced her intentions to County council on Wednesday. Murphy says she has enjoyed her tenure thus far and wants to continue to contribute as the head of the body.

“Leading our County council has probably been one of the best experiences of my whole life,” she said. “I feel like I am just really getting the hang of this job so this is something I would like to take on for another year.”

Murphy noted that the complexities of the position, especially in dealing the provincial government and sitting as a member of the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus, mean that you really don't grow into the job until the end of the term. In addition, she noted that December and July are months when the council is not active policy wise.

The one-year position is voted on by Renfrew County’s 17 municipality representatives during the inaugural session of the next council in December. Nominations for the position close on Nov. 14. As a testament to how the job has changed, however, the last three previous wardens, Janice Visneskie-Moore, Bob Sweet and Peter Emon, have served multiple terms. Last year, there was discussion about raising the length of the term to two years, something Murphy did not initially favour until she saw how encompassing the position is.

“I am disagreeing with my former self,” she remarked. “I believe it should be a two-year term especially with the complexities and the continuing initiatives that we have in the county and in eastern Ontario.”

The critical issues that she still wants to tackle include securing funding for the widening of Petawawa Boulevard and the expansion of Highway 17, the development of high speed Internet, addressing the deficit in infrastructure funding and navigating through the multitude of downloads and regulatory changes coming from Queen's Park, including Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, and reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board.

“During this year we have certainly had to pivot with legislation that has been downloaded at a very rapid pace,” said Murphy.

Moving from Toronto with her husband, Dave, in 2000, Murphy opened an auto service in Renfrew before entering politics in 2010. She was re-elected mayor in 2014 and has chaired the finance and administration committee. Acclaimed warden in December 2016, Murphy felt it was important to let her colleagues know in advance that she was seeking another term.

“Why be coy. By doing this I am not waiting until the last minute to put my name in,” she added. “This is something I want to take on again and I hope they will support me.”

SChase@postmedia.com