John Yakabuski opens Pembroke campaign office ahead of June 7 provincial election
Tina Peplinskie/Daily Observer: Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke incumbent MPP John Yakabuski was joined by supporters and local dignitaries Tuesday as he officially opened his Pembroke campaign office. Among those taking part in the ribbon cutting ceremony (front from left) campaign manager Zig Mintha, Laurentian Valley Reeve Debbie Robinson, constitency assistant Nikki Berry, Yakabuski, PC riding association executive member Helen Mick, MP Cheryl Gallant and Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay.
After nearly 15 years, John Yakabuski still loves his job and is hoping voters will give him a chance to return to Queen's Park after the June 7 provincial election.
“I love this job that I have been honoured to do for 15 years and I look forward to doing it for a while yet,” he said Tuesday morning as the incumbent member of provincial Parliament for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke opened his fifth and main campaign office at 1041 Pembroke St. West. He was joined by volunteers, supporters and staff to cut the ribbon at the office, which will be open six days a week. He previously opened satellite offices in Renfrew, Arnprior, Eganville and Barry's Bay. He said with a riding as large as this, it is important to have more than one office so constituents throughout the riding have somewhere to go to get involved in the campaign, whether it be to pick up lawn signs, volunteer or ask questions.
“This is also to signal to people throughout the Valley that we consider everyone to be an important part of the campaign,” Yakabuski said to those gathered.
This is Yakabuski's fifth election campaign as the Progressive Conservative candidate and he said they all take on a life of their own. So far the theme of this campaign, he said is that people are ready for change.
“No matter where I go, even before the campaign started, the message from people has been that it is time for a new party to govern (the province),” he said. “There is an appetite for change. People are ready for a different approach, a different team. After 15 years the Liberals are too set in their ways and they have become arrogant.”
He added the government should always remember it is in place to serve the people and the PC campaign is dubbed 'for the people'.
“We expect we will form government on June 7 and I want to be part of that government, but I can't do it alone,” Yakabuski said.
Election campaigns run on volunteers, he said and he feels lucky to have such a supportive team in his corner, a team which has already been very busy. He feels the offices have already received more requests for lawn signs and seeing these blue and white signs pooping up across the riding has served as a morale booster as he travels across Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. It is those small victories that keep him going throughout the campaign.
Another of these small victories was a recent encounter with a young man, a story he relayed on Tuesday. He happened to be parking at the same time as the man and when they got out of their vehicles he said hello and asked how the man was doing. The man was going about his business and simply said he was OK until he looked up to see who was speaking.
He then indicated he'd had Yakabuski as a supply teacher at Madawaska Valley District High School (17 years ago, according to Yakabuski) recalling how he was able to connect with students and understand what they were doing through.
“He didn't have to say anything, but these are the things that lift our spirits up,” Yakabuski said. “And thanks to all of you for lifting my spirits up too.”