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Jennifer Murphy elected as vice-chair of Wardens' Caucus

By Celina Ip

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.

County of Renfrew Warden Jennifer Murphy has been elected as the 2018 vice-chair for the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus.

On Jan. 11 and 12th in Kingston, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) held their annual inaugural meeting to usher in a new chair and vice-chair and to set priorities for the new year.

Robin Jones, Warden of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, was honoured to replace outgoing Chair Robert Quaiff.

“For this critical election year, the EOWC has kept its focus simple and identified the two most important projects for Eastern Ontario. The rest of the year – and specifically the next few months – will be spent on advocating at the provincial and federal government levels for multi-stakeholder solution to these proposals,” explained Jones.

Former vice-chair, Lanark County Warden Bill Dobson, stepped down from his 2017 position as Murphy happily took his place.

The role of the chair and vice-chair, elected on an annual basis, is to provide the main point of focus and contact for the caucus and ensure that the newly established key priorities move forward.

For 2018, the first priority is “building the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) cellular and public safety broadband network”.

During the caucus’ inaugural 2018 meeting, it was established that they will continue to support the EORN on its $299 million business case to the provincial and federal governments. This will lead to the closure of many cellular network gaps, a boost in mobile broadband service across Eastern Ontario, and an increase in public safety for residents and first responders during emergencies.

The second key priority is “implementing the Eastern Ontario Economic Development Strategy”.

The EOWC agreed that they will continue to support the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council (EOLC) in its ongoing implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Regional Economic Development Strategy – the first regional plan of its kind across Ontario. By helping to secure financial support from the province, the strategy’s implementation will address Eastern Ontario’s future economic development needs, being a) workforce development and deployment, b) technology integration and innovation, and c) integrated, intelligent transportation systems.

During the County of Renfrew’s Finance and Administration Committee meeting on Jan. 16, Murphy expressed that she’s honoured to have the privilege of playing a leading role in the EOWC’s advocacy work on behalf of 750,000 residents from across 13 upper and single-tier municipalities and 90 local municipalities.

“I was honoured to be nominated by Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham and to have my nomination was seconded by Peterborough County Warden Joe Taylor,” said Murphy. “I think over the 2017 year I have shown that I can lead, that I’m a team player and that I do have some good ideas going forward of how we can make the caucus an even better caucus.”

According to Murphy, this is the first time that two women have been elected in the roles of chair and vice-chair and she’s proud to be a part of this historic moment for the EOWC.

“Currently, there are only three women on the caucus of 13 and that includes us. So it's sort of exciting at this time to have a woman as the chair and as the vice-chair. We're very proud of that and we’re going to ensure that our voices are heard,” said Murphy.

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