Gen Xer Jackson Stepping Up

Matt Jackson - South Bruce Peninsula Candidate

Matt Jackson – South Bruce Peninsula Candidate

First of all, tell us a little about your background and overall platform in 100 words or less.

I believe it is time for the next generation to step up and have a seat at the Council table to bring forward new ideas, position our communities for a prosperous future in the modern economy and ensure we are moving forward.  If elected, I am determined to work with the community, both permanent and seasonal residents, in an open and transparent manner to move forward with solutions rather than simply looking to maintaining the status quo. We must focus on creating jobs for our young people, delivering improved services for our aging population, protecting our environment and managing our community’s financial resources prudently.

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing business-owners in Grey-Bruce?

In order for business to succeed, they must have a partner in municipal government that is willing to work with them to support their growth and success. Some of the biggest challenges I hear about from business owners are high taxes, stagnant population growth and red tape that can be prohibitive. Moving forward it is imperative for municipal councils to focus on developing strategies to attract more young families, retirees and individuals to live, work and retire in our communities to ensure a healthy population that can support local business.

What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

Our community can have a bright economic future if we signal that we are “open for business”

This question reflects my main motivation that influenced my decision to run for Council. I have been fortunate enough to gain experience in both the private and public sector and this has given me unique insight into the rapidly evolving modern economy. Our community can have a bright economic future if we signal that we are “open for business” and willing to work with potential investors to identify solutions rather than construct barriers in order to attract sustainable and environmentally sensitive development.   Council can utilize new tools including social media to connect with residents and promote the community as a place to do business.

For our long-term success, it is also imperative that we continue to work to connect our communities with high speed internet access to allow them to take advantage of the global and real-time opportunities that provides.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on:

A) Bringing in new business developments, or

 B) Encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

I don’t think this is an either or answer. I believe our economic success will hinge on a balance of achieving both. We must work to ensure we are supporting our existing businesses and removing existing barriers to growth while also looking to attract new business and development activities to build on our success.   The realities are that the economy is changing and in order to ensure a long-term prosperous future we must work to attract new investment that allows us to reposition our economy for the future. As a young candidate, I want to ensure that through my work I am creating opportunities for our next generation to ensure we keep them here at home in successful careers.

Do you think local business taxes should be:

A) Increased

B) Decreased

C) Maintained at current levels

Taxes continue to be one of the common issues I hear about from business owners as a barrier. This must be a topic of focus for municipal leadership to find efficiencies, build economies of scale and keep our taxes low. The reality is that we need to be seeking out and attracting new residential and commercial investments to our communities to see growth and an increased tax base to help share the burden. By focusing on sustainable development we will see an increase in the number of residents and businesses paying taxes, supporting local businesses and contributing to a stronger community.

Should there be any changes in the services offered to local businesses?

Business owners often tell me that their experience in dealing with municipal government is often a frustration rather than a supportive partner. In order to ensure small businesses succeed in our communities, we much strive to have Economic Development Offices that are there to help business owners through the process rather than burdening them with excessive processes. If elected to Council, I would look to the Chamber of Commerce, business owners and advisory groups on ways that services could be improved. A particular area of focus for me will be trying to find ways to encourage younger people to become entrepreneurs as a significant proportion of current business owners are nearing retirement and it is imperative that the next generation is prepared to step in and keep our small businesses strong and prosperous.

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