Hi. I’m Mike Behan and I’d like to begin by thanking the Fort Frances Times for this opportunity to connect with my fellow residents during this municipal election campaign.

My top priority remains economic development, particularly in attracting industry to Fort Frances to create jobs and broaden the tax base so we can invest in the infrastructure, services, and amenities essential to ensuring our town is a vibrant community in the 21st century.

This also includes supporting the viability and growth of our existing business sector, developing Fort Frances as a tourist destination, not simply a “gateway,” and continuing to work collaboratively with our First Nations’ neighbours and district municipalities for the benefit of all.

We must continue to address the dire shortage of health-care professionals and skilled labourers, the lack of affordable housing options, and the growing impact of extreme weather events on our community while offering a wide variety of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities for residents of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy.

I also support continuing to build partnerships with local agencies and organizations to find innovative, sustainable solutions to such pressing social issues as homelessness, addictions, and mental health struggles.

As well, I will continue to advocate for responsible fiscal management in how taxpayers’ dollars are spent while being mindful of affordability for both residents, especially those on fixed incomes, and local businesses.

With your support, I am eager to use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the past four years on town council to hit the ground running in tackling the myriad of very complex issues facing our community.

Equally urgent is moving forward immediately on the important work already underway to implement a new Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw, undertake a governance review, draft a recreation master plan, and create a reconciliation policy.

I am seeking re-election because I fervently believe in the future of our community and that no problem is too big to solve or no challenge too great to overcome.

My solemn pledge to you remains to keep working together to make Fort Frances an inclusive, welcoming community and an even better place to live for all our residents.