Six questions with Gregory Ridge, candidate for King’s Town District

Gregory Ridge, candidate for the King’s Town District in the 2022 City of Kingston municipal election. Submitted photo.

Gregory Ridge has lived in the King’s Town district nearly all his life. He is also no stranger to politics, having worked as a Constituency Assistant and Interim Legislative Assistant for Ian Arthur when he was the MPP for Kingston and the Islands (2018 to 2022).

Now, Ridge is ready to represent the constituents of the King’s Town district, where he still resides, now with his wife Zoe and their newborn son Gary.

Currently, Ridge is the Finance Officer for the McDonald Institute in the Department of Physics at Queen’s University. Before that, he was a Financial Administrator for Research Projects, also at the Physics Department at Queen’s.

In his spare time, Ridged shared that he is “currently finishing my Professional Master’s in Public Administration at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University.”

Other than campaigning, he said he has done “lots of work in the community” when working as a Constituency Assistant for Ian Arthur, including “running a Free Low-Income Tax Clinic from 2019 to 2022 that brought back $2 million into the community. I would like to get back to doing more taxes for those in need in the near future.”

How would you describe your personal political ideology and/or affiliation?

My political ideology is solidly progressive. I have worked as an NDP staffer and have also been involved in labour as a member of several unions.

What made you want to run in this municipal election?

When I worked in [former] MPP Arthur’s office, I was more fully exposed to the giant cracks in our systems that people fall through. Seeing the tremendous need for help and change that is out there in our community inspired me to run.

What are the three most common issues voters are bringing up to you as you campaign?

  1. The growing need for greater affordability. This is generally around housing, but has also been directed at City services such as transit.
  2. The increase in people without housing. Those I have canvassed have been very compassionate and concerned about the lack of resources available, whether they be actual physical units for housing (the social housing registry list wait time is anywhere between five to eight years), or supportive social services to accommodate the housing.
  3. Concerns about specific developments or development proposals. There are several, but the main one is the proposed Tannery lands development. Whether people are for or against the development, they are very passionate about it.

What three issues are most pressing/important to address locally, in your opinion?

  1. Affordable housing.
  2. Increased funding for social services and supports.
  3. Strengthening municipal environmental policies. This can be something as simple as increasing the canopy coverage of the district (and the City, at large). This is a practical way to combat the climate crisis as it continues to get worse through carbon biosequestration or just providing a larger shade cover. Policies can be crafted to increase civic involvement on these fronts, such as subsidies for planting trees on private property.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Affordable housing. It’s the primary issue I have heard from residents and, if I am elected, will be the primary consideration I have before I make a decision.

What do you feel sets you apart from other candidates?

I have extensive experience in politics through my work in Ian Arthur’s office. I also have an education and experience in accounting that allows me to look at issues from a budgetary perspective. People can talk about making and setting priorities, but actions come with funding. Budgets are about priorities. And I will do what I can on Council to see that these priorities are represented in the budget.

For more information on Gregory Ridge, candidate for King’s Town District in the 2022 municipal election, visit his website or email him at [email protected].

With files from Cris Vilela.

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