In his successful re-election in the Newmarket-Aurora riding, the Progressive Conservative incumbent has already indicated that jobs are his first priority.
At 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Frank Klees celebrated a narrow victory over his opponents in the riding. He polled 19,460 votes to runner-up Liberal candidate Christina Bisanz, who secured 18,105 votes.
With a fifth political victory in York Region under his belt since 1995, Klees has focused on work programs, wildlife conservation, improving highway infrastructure and educational programs for autistic and special needs children.
“I do have a track record of working for my community,” said Klees at his victory party at the Glenway Country Club in Newmarket.
Klees pointed to some of his successes in politics, including the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act in 1999 and the funding of York Region’s Viva bus rapid transit system when he served as Minister of Transportation in 2003. Klees now plans to focus on the unemployment problem in the northern York Region.
“There are still far too many people in this region who are unemployed, desperate for a job,” Klees said, emphasizing the need to “move beyond the simplicity of the job retraining programs of the McGuinty government.”
Klees oversaw the implementation of the Ontario Works program in 1997 during his first term as MPP for Newmarket-Aurora; that program saw more than one million people move successfully from welfare to jobs. According to Klees, the McGuinty retraining programs often deliver no jobs.
“That is an insult to the very people who are looking for a job. I’m going to be focusing a lot of my attention on that issue,” Klees said.