Fourth candidate enters race for regional chair

Jay Aissa, who made a push to unseat Ken Seiling in 2014 over LRT issue, looks to fill the vacancy left by the incumbent’s retirement

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A fourth and final candidate has entered into the race for Waterloo Region’s highest elected office. Submitting his papers shortly before last Friday’s deadline, City of Waterloo resident Jay Aissa is the newest name to be added to the ballot ahead of October’s municipal election.

Aissa joins fellow candidates Jan d’Ailly, Rob Deutschmann and Karen Redman in the race to replace long-time regional Chair Ken Seiling, who will not be seeking re-election after 33 years in office.

“Ken did a beautiful job to build what I call the foundation of this region, and I am coming to put the wall and the roofing on top of those foundations. The man did a good job,” said Aissa.

“So now what are you going to do? You’re not going to take that and demolish it. You take this and you build on it. And that’s my idea as a regional chair, to be honest with you.”

Aissa, a life-long resident of Waterloo Region, is the founder and owner of Jay’s Fencing – a fencing and security renovation business. Aissa says he considers his business sense and entrepreneurial experience as important assets, and hopes to bring those qualities to the fore if elected as chair.

Aissa ran against Seiling in the 2014 municipal election, posing the first major challenge to the incumbent in many years, largely on the basis of wide public opposition to the light rail transit scheme. In a field of seven, Aissa finished second with 24 per cent of the vote.

“I didn’t believe … we needed it, so that’s why I ran against it,” he explained of the LRT issue. “I said one thing then: ‘It was not going to be on time. It was not going be on budget.’ And both happened.”

This time around, he says he wants to focus on improving the region’s healthcare, and increase access to affordable housing. He adds that he is still working on finalizing the details of his platform, and encourages people to check his website in about a week’s time for more details (www.votejay.ca).

The other three candidates in the running for regional chair are Deutschmann, a lawyer and former mayor of North Dumfries Township; Redman, a former MP and current Kitchener representative on regional council; and Jan d’Ailly, a former City of Waterloo councillor.

The municipal election will be held on October 22.