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Khanjin has plenty on to-do list entering second term

'The cost of living is going up and they want to see a government — like our strong, majority Progressive Conservative government — that is going to look after them,' Khanjin says following big win

It didn’t take long after the polls closed Thursday night for supporters of Progressive Conservative incumbent Andrea Khanjin to celebrate her victory in Barrie-Innisfil.

Friends, family and community members packed into one side of Ol' West Wing on Ferndale Drive South last night where they excitedly watched the results for the provincial election roll in  and await the arrival of the woman of the hour.

Jennifer Kaplinski, who was one of many supporters who donned conservative blue, told BarrieToday she was beyond excited to see Khanjin re-elected and heading back to Queen’s Park.

“She wants to make a big difference in a positive way for our community. She is always there for people," Kaplinski said. "I have continually heard how when people reach out to her (with a problem), I have never heard she promises (something) and never follows through.

"Andrea gets the job done. She does the job well. She cares about the people and she really wants to make a difference.”

Kaplinski added Khanjin’s “kind heart” combined with her “intelligence" are two of the traits that made the 33-year-old the best candidate  and the best person  for the job.

“I am excited to work with her to help push some things further that are going to be great for our province entirely," she said. "I am excited we have somebody for Barrie-Innisfil that actually cares about the people and deep down in her heart and soul wants to make things better for everyone."

Khanjin says she plans to “hit the ground running” now that she’s been given the green light to return to Queen’s Park. 

“Like I've said, there’s going to be no dilly-dallying. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” she said, adding the No. 1 issue she came across while out campaigning was concern for rising gas prices. 

“We are going to tackle that very soon – July 1, gas prices are coming down by five cents a litre. There are people who have to get to work, (who) want to plan summer trips with their kids, want to take their kids to camp," Khanjin said. "It means so much for residents to be able to get that break. The cost of living is going up and they want to see a government  like our strong, majority Progressive Conservative government  that is going to look after them.”

Although Khanjin planned on enjoying the evening, she said she plans to go back to work first thing this morning and tackle the issues that are important to her constituents.

“We are going to be starting taking down the campaign signs and I am going to start getting straight to work," she said. 

That work will include staying true to what she called the core values of bringing the cost of living down, reducing gas prices, building core infrastructure such as expanding Highway 400 and the creation of the Bradford Bypass, she says, as well as the construction of the new Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre campus in Innisfil. 

“We are going to be stewarding those really important projects and, of course, creating a really, well-running economy locally so we can have high-quality jobs and… make sure there are a lot of opportunities for people not only to enter in a place of work that’s very much in demand, but will also give them the core of what they will need in order to afford a good home,” she said.

“If they have good jobs, they’re able to save up for a good home. Our cost of living in terms of the cost of housing here locally is quite high  whether it’s rental or buying a house," Khanjin said. "Our government is going to be tackling that. We have done that over the past four years but there’s more to do.”

Heather Eves, who says she has known Khanjin since she was in elementary school, told BarrieToday it was important for her to come out and show her support last night, adding when Khanjin would be at her home, she once told her that she wanted to be prime minister of Canada one day. 

“At eight years old, she was mature and she was grounded and always knew what she wanted,” said Eves. “She’s very knowledgeable and she’s driven.”

Prior to her landslide victory in 2018, when Khanjin received 49.97 per cent of the total votes cast, the 33-year-old new mom had previously worked behind the scenes with the federal Conservatives while studying political science at the University of Ottawa.

During her first term as MPP, Khanjin held multiple roles, including serving as deputy government house leader from Feb. 11, 2020 to May 3, 2022 and more recently as parliamentary assistant to the minister of the environment, conservation and parks.