The incumbent candidate for Borderland constituency says he has a lot of energy and enthusiasm left and is ready to resume work as the area's MLA.
Progressive Conservative, Josh Guenter, feels he's been able to work with others to get a lot done in the area over the last four years.
"Whether it's infrastructure, more investments in our local healthcare, we've seen progress on a number of fronts. Today, the minimum wage at Blue Sky Opportunities is $19.00 an hour, not 14 where it sat for many, many years," explained Guenter. "There are many worthy projects across the community that have been funded, and I've also been happy to be part of a team that has reduced the overall tax burden on Manitoba families and tried to foster an environment in Manitoba where people feel that they can set up businesses and invite investment into our province and create an environment of economic development here."
He noted, his work, and the work of his party, isn't over yet.
"We inherited a province about six years ago that had nearly doubled the health care wait times and at the same time, we're faced with a runaway $1 billion deficit. And so, we were able to tame both of those things. "Of course, you know, 2020 happened, but we're bouncing back from that and we're turning the ship around once again. And so, I just feel that there's a lot of work left undone."
Fighting for lower taxes for Manitoba families and taxpayers is another priority, added Guenter.
"We've announced that we will be cutting the income tax with the first income tax bracket in half. So, on a $50,000 a year salary, that's $1,900 in savings. We're going to be eliminating the land transfer tax for first time home buyers. We're going to be eliminating the payroll tax, which, this area is incredibly entrepreneurial, and we've got a lot of businesses that start small, but they grow to be really big. And so, as they grow, they incur all these additional taxes. And so, the unfair and punitive payroll tax, we've announced we'll eliminate that."
Additionally, he said infrastructure remains top-of-mind for his party.
When it comes to his personal motivations for running this time around, Guenter said they include fighting the carbon tax and standing up for gun owners.
"We see the federal overreach with the gun bans, and our government has been very clear that the RCMP, which currently now has a 30% vacancy in the province, should be focusing on real crime and should not be embarking on enforcing these wasteful and ineffective Liberal gun laws."
Guenter added, parental rights are also something he's focused on.
"(It's) really an important for me and, I think, constituents across southern Manitoba who are concerned with some of the things they're seeing abroad in the school system and starting to creep in here in our province as well. And so, I just want to give them that representation and fight for them. I am a father myself, a father of four children, and my son is going into the school system this year and I understand these concerns and just want to do the best job that I can so that I can look people in the eye at the grocery store around town and feel that I have done the very best that I could for them."
He pointed to his party's commitment, if re-elected, to bring forward a parental rights bill in the Legislature.
Meantime, Guenter said he has really appreciated being able to work behind the scenes and get things done over the last term.
"I think that's the aspect that I like the most, go to the Legislature and be a voice for my constituents. Sometimes that means I'm not in the spotlight and I'm totally okay with that. I realize there's an expectation on this role, a very public facing aspect of this role, but it's the ability to use this platform to affect change for the constituents that I represent, whether it's on small items or big items. There are people that have come to our office with various issues, whether it's healthcare or any number of things that they're facing personally, and we've tried to advocate for them and, sometimes we've won and sometimes we've lost, but we've always tried. That's the part of the job that's most satisfying and that's most rewarding. And frankly, I think that's the real work. People don't see it, but that's the real work of the role."
Advance voting begins Saturday, September 23rd, and runs through September 30th. Polls will be open 8am to 8pm Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6pm on Sunday. Election day is October 3rd, and polls will be open 8am to 8pm that day.
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