BY ANDREW SMITH
STRATFORD – Vince Judge has been named the 2013 Perth County warden, following the first warden election the county has seen in 10 years.
Members of Perth County council, staff and dignitaries gathered at Spruce Lodge on Dec. 5, as Judge and Coun. Rhonda Ehgoetz declared their intention to seek the warden position. In her remarks, Ehgoetz made reference to the rarity of a warden’s election, as the position is often won by acclamation.
“I admire and respect all my peers on county council, so it’s really hard to run against one of them, knowing that only one of us is going to get that job,” Ehgoetz said. “I feel very honoured and privileged to sit with my peers on Perth County council, as we try to make Perth County a great place to raise a family or run a business.”
Ehgoetz, a member of Perth East council for 13 years and county council for two years, detailed her involvement in the community and what she would offer as warden.
“I bring new and fresh ideas to the county table, and want to work with both county council and staff to achieve new things,” she said. “I sit on council because it is my way to give back to my community.”
Judge has been the warden of Perth County twice previously, first in 1991, and again in 2001 when he was also the mayor of North Perth. In his remarks, Judge spoke about his experience as warden and the number of municipal organizations he has been a part of.
“Putting that all in perspective, I feel I have the qualifications to be able to lead,” he said.
Following his election, Judge said council as a whole will have a number of challenges to face in 2013, with a decline in provincial funding while working towards initiatives in the county.
“I look to each of you for continued support, and each one of you brings a special talent to the table,” Judge said. “I know that we will work well together as a team.”
Judge also looked forward to opportunities as Perth warden, such as showcasing the county at the 100th International Plowing Match in West Perth next September, and furthering growth in the county through economic development as identified in the county strategic plan.
“Economic development was a key theme that came out in that process with the core message that a strong business climate is important to the vitality of the county,” he said.
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece brought greetings, having enjoyed working with past warden Ian Forrest and looking forward to working with Judge to better the county.
“We are so lucky in Perth County to live here and have what we have, and we need to constantly work on keeping Perth County a great place to live,” Pettapiece said.
Mayor of Stratford Dan Mathieson added his intention to continue a working relationship between the city and the county, and St. Marys mayor Steve Grose highlighted the importance of Perth County to the rest of Canada.
“This is a challenging time, this is a time when leadership is very important,” Grose said. “I’m very glad to see the effort being put forth by the current council and our new warden.”