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Newman 'personally invested' in Ward 4 race

'I live in the ward and I truly believe you need to live where you’re running to represent the area and be part of the local community,' says Ward 4 candidate Robert Newman

Editor's note: BarrieToday is running profile stories on candidates for city council in each of the city's 10 wards. For more election coverage, visit our 2022 municipal election page by clicking here, where you can also find mayoral profiles and other election news. 
A municipal councillor needs to be personally invested in not only the city but also the particular ward for which they hope to represent, according to political hopeful Robert Newman.

The 49-year-old IT professional is running as a candidate in they city’s Ward 4 in the Oct. 24 municipal election. Newman tells BarrieToday he thinks the best person to represent a community is someone who actually lives there themselves. 

Newman spent the first 15 years of his life in the city’s north end before moving away when his stepfather, who was in the Canadian Forces, was stationed elsewhere. He returned to the city in 2001, and moved to the ward four years ago.

“I live in the ward and I truly believe you need to live where you’re running to represent the area and be part of the local community. When I put my name in, I was the only one at the time living in the ward,” he said. “You are personally invested in the ward, you know what’s going on, you know your neighbours and you’re the voice for your neighbours.”

With the cost of living continuing to increase, Newman says the idea of putting a hold on tax increases is something that will always come up when talking with potential constituents, and although he said he obviously cannot make any promises about that, he does hope the next council can work together to find a way to cut taxpayers a bit of a break.

“Realistically, that needs to be something between myself, if I am elected, other council members and the mayor," Newman said. 

Affordable housing is another issue that affects not only Ward 4 but also the entire city, he added. 

“Being an older, aging ward with an aging population, there needs to be more affordable housing for seniors. There are a lot of churches proposing small senior buildings, which I totally agree with and (think) we need to have more of that.”

Having worked in the IT industry for 30 years, Newman says that has taught him how to be a team player, a skill he believes is absolutely necessary as a member of city council.

“Being a team player, you need to recognize on council that (it's) action-based and you need to create a plan for a better Barrie. It’s not something you can just argue and butt heads all the time (over),” he said. “I do watch the occasional city council meeting and I find that’s what happens a lot.”

Newman also says he’d like to see the city grow in a way that prepares it for the future.

“We are having a lot of people move up to the city, so we need to increase things for them to do, create better parks where all ages can enjoy them," he said. 

As for what makes him the best candidate for the job, Newman said it’s his commitment and passion for the community in which he lives.

“I live here, I have lots of friends who live in the ward, my parents live in the ward, I am raising my family in the ward,” he said. “I care about the community (and) it’s not going to just be a part-time job.”