With just over a month to go, Chatham-Kent-Leamington Liberals now have a candidate to carry the banner in the upcoming provincial election.
Margaret Schleier Stahl, the lone nominee and longtime community advocate, was acclaimed in front of party supporters on Wednesday at the Retro Suites Hotel in Chatham.
“I want you to see your name on the ballot when you see mine,” she said.
Schleier Stahl works for the municipality as a life skills therapist, who facilitates workshops for those on Ontario Works.
The 49-year-old Chatham resident said she's seen first-hand that some people are still struggling despite growth in the economy.
“They've needed to have someone to have a voice for them,” she said. “And they've felt that locally they have just not heard that voice.”
While she admits it won't be an easy task, Schleier Stahl said she's heard from many that they want to see a change in Chatham-Kent-Leamington.
“This is about putting our riding back on the map,” she said.
The riding is currently held by Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls.
The last Liberal MPP in the area was Pat Hoy, who served from 1995 until his retirement in 2011.
When asked about the often-criticized Green Energy Act and concerns about wind turbines, Schleier Stahl said the key is to “really take some time and talk to the experts. Really try to figure out what is best.
“I don't like the idea of when one person wins, another person loses. I like the idea of us collectively coming together.”
Schleier Stahl has an honours degree in social work, a bachelor of education degree, and a life skills coaching certificate.
Her community involvement includes the Chatham-Kent Service Co-ordinators Networking Group, a staff wellness committee member in the Municipality of Chatham Kent, and a community assessment team member in Chatham-Kent. She currently is a member of the Leamington Mennonite Home Gala Committee.
She's also a recipient of the Tri-County Literacy Promotion of Education Award.
“I'm not a politician,” she said. “I care about people and I care about our community.”
Schleier Stahl is mother to a daughter and son and also enjoys spending time with her partner and his daughter.
The provincial election takes place June 7.