A former mayor of the Region of Queens is looking to take the seat once again in the upcoming municipal election. Christopher Clarke adds his name to a growing list of people vying for the title.
Clarke was also the Mayor of the Region of Queens when the town of Liverpool and Municipality of Queens amalgamated in 1996. The amalgamation led to saving money on taxes, as well as investing in major communities in the county, he says.
"I think we had a good reputation for having led the municipality through amalgamation."
Clarke did not reoffer for the 2000 election, something he says was planned from the beginning.
"You make better decisions if you do not have to worry about reelection. You do what is right, not what is politically expedient," he says.
For the 2012 election, Clarke says he will offer for the sole term as well.
It's no secret the next municipal council will face some major challenges. With the Bowater Mersey Paper mill closed, the economy of Queens will be challenged. This was partly the reason why he decided to run in the upcoming election.
Clarke has spent most of his life in Queens County, and says it was a good and rewarding life and a great place to raise his family. Though it may sound cliché, he says he wants to offer what he can to help the county through the rough times.
"I think that Queens is going through a difficult time, and I think it's payback time."
Clarke says the next council needs to evaluate the situation to find the best solution.
"You can't do it on your own, you have to do it as a team," he says. "You've got to see what you can do with the money you have available."
There are bright spots in Queens though. Over the next two years, there will be two major construction projects: the hospital expansion and new middle school
"That will generate a lot of activity over the next two years."
That will give council and the advisory committee time to look for the best direction to take the county towards.
Clarke is no stranger to leadership roles either. He has been part of the District Health Authority, Kiwanis, Family and Children Services Board, the Queens County Fish and Game Society, and the hospital board among others. In most of those he was president or vice president at one time. He also worked at the Bowater Mersey mill for 35 years, and was on the management committee for 25 of those years.
One of Clarke's highlight moments has been with the district health authority. His goal has been to preserve the health system in Queens County, which culminated into the hospital expansion project.
"I think that job is complete with the hospital about to be rebuilt, starting in September," he says.