In just a matter of weeks, Ontarians will head to the polls to cast their votes in the 2022 provincial election.
Those campaigning in Chatham-Kent-Leamington include Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate Trevor Jones, New Blue Party of Ontario candidate Rhonda Jubenville, Ontario New Democratic Party candidate Brock McGregor, Ontario Party candidate Rick Nicholls (incumbent), and Green Party of Ontario candidate Jennifer Surerus. The Ontario Liberal Party no longer has a candidate in the riding after Audrey Festeryga withdrew from the campaign.
Nicholls has served as MPP for the riding of Chatham-Kent-Leamington (previously known as Chatham-Kent—Essex) since 2011. Nicholls was originally a member of the Progressive Conservative Party before he was removed from caucus in August 2021 after announcing that he will not get the COVID-19 shot, as required by the party. In December 2021, he joined the Ontario Party.
In the 2018 provincial election, Nicholls secured 51.92 per cent of the vote, NDP candidate Jordan McGrail secured 35.91 per cent, Liberal Candidate Margaret Schleier Stahl secured 8.06 per cent, Green Party Candidate Mark Vercouteren secured 3.54 and Independent Drew Barry John Simpson secured 0.77 per cent
Prior to Nicholls' the riding was represented by Liberal Pat Hoy, who served four terms.
The riding covers the City of Chatham-Kent, Municipality of Leamington, Town of Lakeshore, and Township of Pelee. According to Elections Ontario, the population of the riding is 109,620 based on the 2016 census and covers 3,036 square kilometres.
Residents within the Chatham-Kent-Leamington riding interested in learning more about local candidates may read about them below.
Election day is June 2, 2022.
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate Trevor Jones
A married father of three, Trevor Jones was born and raised in Leamington where he still resides.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History in 1997 and his Master of Arts in 2001 from the University of Windsor.
Jones joined the Ontario Provincial Police in 2002, serving in both the Chatham-Kent and Essex County detachments before being promoted to Sergeant in 2009.
Jones eventually entered the private sector to advocate for food security and to support Ontario’s greenhouse growers and farmers.
Jones is currently a councillor for the Municipality of Leamington and serves as the Senior Director of Grower and Community Relations for Mastronardi Produce.
Jones can be found on Facebook. The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario's platform can be found here.
New Blue Party of Ontario candidate Rhonda Jubenville
Rhonda Jubenville was born and raised in Chatham, getting involved in her family’s 43-year-old building supply and lumber yard business at a young age.
Jubenville said this helped her learn what it takes to operate a successful, grassroots business from the ground up.
Jubenville describes herself as being active and loving to serve people in the community, from the various ministries of the Catholic Church she attends, including serving as President of the Catholic Women’s League in her Parish, The Chatham Figure Skating Club’s board for 14 years and being President for over three years.
Jubenville was inspired to run for politics after she said she became frustrated by how the pandemic highlighted the state of Ontario’s healthcare, long term care, education and small businesses and what she said was the mishandling of these essential services
Jubenville said she would serve the riding with integrity and honesty and won’t back down from political challenges.
Brock McGregor was born and raised in Chatham-Kent and calls the community home with his wife and four children.
During two terms on [Chatham-Kent], municipal council McGregor has advocated for smart growth, investments in community infrastructure, and support for vulnerable people. He introduced tougher regulations on payday lenders and fought to build a more equitable community.
McGregor describes himself as an active community organizer. He was an executive board member of the 2018 International Plowing Match and is the long-serving president of the board for Rise House International, a charity operating a women’s safe haven in Haiti.
Ontario Party candidate Rick Nicholls
Rick Nicholls has been serving the riding of Chatham-Kent-Leamington for 11 years.
A married father of three, Nicholls served 10 years with the Conservative Party of Ontario caucus before being removed last August for what he said was personally believing in freedom of choice.
Nicholls now serves as the Deputy Leader of what he calls a true conservative party, the Ontario Party, describing its foundational pillars as truth, transparency, faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility.
Nicholls describes himself as the voice of millions of people throughout Ontario, Canada, and other countries for choosing to stand up against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Jennifer Surerus was a frontline support worker for almost two decades. Currently, she runs her own small business, teaches at college and is a full-time mature student working towards a Master in Social Work at York University.
Surerus said she is invested in social justice and has always wanted to support systemic change to make things better for people and the environment.
Surerus added that she believes in the transformative power of relationships and places high value on listening to the people most impacted by the issues at hand.
She volunteers with a local food-rescue organization and with the Green Party. Surerus is a proud auntie and is grateful to have strong connections with family and friends and said she is overjoyed to be running as the Chatham-Kent-Leamington Green Party candidate.