Jeff Lees is the first person to put his name in the ring in Port Hope for the position of councillor for the October election.
Today’s Northumberland spoke to 54-year-old Lees moments after filing the documents on Friday, June 15, 2018.
TN:The first question is why?
Lees: The main thing is I love Port Hope. It’s a great place to live, work and play. It’s a beautiful community and I want to keep representing it the best I can.
TN: How long have you been a councillor for?
Lees: I’ve been a councillor for over 20 years. Six terms, six elections and hopefully this will be my seventh and I want to go forward making this community better and more beautiful.
I’m the youngest that ever ran, I was 32 when I began this journey and the longest consecutive member of council. It will be 21 years by the time I’m finished this term.
TN: It sure isn’t about the money is it?
Lees: If anyone is doing it for the money, they are doing it for the wrong reason in my opinion. It’s about wanting to make Port Hope a better place as far as I’m concerned. It’s a lot of stress, you’re into a lot of things. You’re on the clock 24-hours a day. They say it’s a part time job, but no way it’s a part time job. Text, e-mails, people coming to your house, people phoning, it’s all part of the job. If you’re not willing to do those things then you’re in the wrong job.
TN: Biggest issue going forward?
Lees: I think the biggest thing for me going forward is a new seniors centre. In my opinion our Ruth Clarke Seniors Centre is getting tired and past the point of truly accessible for everybody. My next goal will be a new seniors centre for Port Hope.
TN: In terms of councils, how was this one?
Lees: Every council that I’ve been on, they are all different for sure. You have different players, different people, different goals, but this council worked really well. We’ve changed the formats of meeting, every first and third Tuesday of every month is a great format. You have council, then you have committee of the whole right after. It kind of gets all the business done at one time, then you can move on to different things and you can do phone calls and research. We also set out a lot of development. We had a community session at the beginning of our term and people said they wanted development was a high priority around the river. Well we did about six projects around the river in the last three-and-a-half years. The lighting along the trails, the fitness centre, the paving of the trails, was major work around the river.
TN: You’ve had a lot of support over the years from the people and your family.
Lees: Every election I always ask my wife and my family because it’s a lot of hardship on them.
It’s me every night of the week out at meetings, phone calls at home and people coming to my home, people are asking her questions too. I can honestly say without the support of my wife, I would never do this. She’s a very understanding person and I’m just the luckiest man in the world because my wife has put up with this for a lot of years. She’s a great lady and I would do it without the support of her and my family as well.