Charlie Luke seeking 2nd term as Mayor of Norfolk County

By David Judd

CHARLIE Luke is hitting his stride after four years as mayor.
Following his election in 2014, Mayor Luke spent his first year learning the ropes of his complicated job.
Mayor Luke now feels comfortable as head of Norfolk County council.
“I feel like I’m coming into my own,” he says in an interview in his office.
“I’m not worrying about doing things right.”
Mayor Luke says he’s stepping things up.
And he plans to seek re-election for another four years.
Although nominations don’t open until May, Mayor Luke is starting to talk about his re-election bid now.
Voting takes place on Monday, Oct. 22.

WHY RUN AGAIN?

“I like this job very much,” he says. “It keeps me really busy.”
Mayor Luke is often in his office at 7 o’clock in the morning.
It’s not unusual for councillors’ weekly meetings to start at 3 on Tuesday afternoon and finish at 8 or 9 o’clock.
Plus there’s all the meetings with staff and the public and the events to attend on weekends.
Mayor Luke does his best to return every call and e-mail.
He says the rewards of being mayor far outweigh the negatives.
So why does Mayor Luke want another four years in office?
“I like the way this county smells,” he says with a smile.
He likes the trees, trails, beaches and shorelines that Norfolk offers.
And he likes the friendly people who say “hi” on the street.
As a politician, he likes new construction, new businesses and homes.
Which brings him to how well Norfolk’s economy has been doing lately.
Last year saw the most growth since modern Norfolk County began in 2001.
Mayor Luke has the numbers memorized — $142 million in new construction last year, up from $104 million in 2015 and $119 million in 2016.
Nearly 400 homes were built in Norfolk last year, more than in Brantford or Kitchener.
New high rises and a hotel are on the horizon in Port Dover.
On the business front, Simcoe’s Toyotetsu and Courtland’s Titan Trailers are growing.
Agriculture and tourism are diversifying with wineries and micro-breweries.
Mayor Luke is no Donald Trump taking credit for everything good about the economy.
The mayor sees his role as an ambassador for Norfolk and as a link between developers, county staff and the public.
He says his job is to expedite things, to make the process of local government better.

CITES ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Mayor Luke cites accomplishments during his first term in office which will end in November:
o The $7 million reconstruction of Main Street in Port Dover;
o The removal of some overhead wires on Main Street to be done this year;
o Garbage pickup for condominiums approved last year;
o Misner Dam repairs to be done this summer;
o And increases in residential property taxes held to about two per cent a year for the last four years.
Mayor Luke’s goals for the next four years include more good years for development and continuing to improve the county’s customer service.
Norfolk has made it through the decline of the tobacco industry and the setbacks of the 2008 recession.
“We’re just starting to see the wheels moving,” Mayor Luke says.
“They’re rolling in the right way.”

 

Charlie Luke

Address: 595 Hillcrest Rd., Simcoe

Age: 64

Occupation:
Retired elementary school
principal (2013).

Family:
Wife, Diane; three daughters and sons-in-law; and six grandchildren.

Political experience:
Member of Simcoe town
council (1980 to 2000);
Simcoe councillor on Norfolk County council (2001 to 2014);
Mayor (2014 to present).

Community service:
Library board member; Chair (as mayor) of Haldimand-Norfolk Board of Health; Member of Norfolk County Police Services Board; Representative from the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario; Board member of South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation.
Previous board member of Haldimand-Norfolk Housing Authority, Norfolk Farmers Association, Long Point Region Conservation Authority and Norfolk General Hospital.

Main issue for Port Dover:
Repair Misner Dam
this summer.

Main issue for Norfolk:
Continuing to attract
development.

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