Chris Ewen: “I’m hoping for a fresh start.”

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2 Chris Ewen
Chris Ewen Chris Ewen

Chris Ewen, well known as the proprietor of the popular Capo Coffee Lounge locations in Île-des-Chênes and Niverville, recently announced that he will seek the Ritchot mayor’s chair in the July 19 by-election.

“I’ve always wanted to get into politics,” says Ewen. “And when I saw what was happening, it really hit me that now was the time.”

What was happening was the ugly dissolution of the RM’s last council. The upcoming by-election was necessitated when former mayor Jackie Hunt and two councillors abruptly resigned at the end of April, citing bullying from the two remaining members of Council. It’s a mess that Ewen says inspired him to run for mayor rather than scare him off. 

“I really believe that to function in business, or as a municipality, you have to have teamwork,” says Ewen. “I look at it like my business. There are a bunch of people that have helped make Capo a successful brand.”

As for other issues Ewen wants to address if elected, he says there’s a lot of untapped potential in the region and he would like to see a better job done promoting tourism and culture. Like many, he’s also concerned about the perceived upswing in crime in the area.

“I see the rise in crime and theft,” says Ewen. “It’s a chance to come together to build a stronger and safer place.”

Hunt has decided to run for her old job and she and Ewen are joined in the race by Marianne Curtis and Gene Whitney. Ewen hopes that voters are eager to turn the page from the divisiveness of the past.

“I’m hoping for a new council, a fresh start,” Ewen says. “I’m hoping for new people and new ideas. It’s time to move on from what happened and build the community better and stronger.”

Ewen is pleased with his campaign so far. He’s always enjoyed a strong social media presence from his businesses and he’s looking forward to knocking on doors and getting to meet more residents further away from his home base.

His campaign will be holding a barbecue at the Capo in Île-des-Chênes on July 8. He also says that he will step back from his business interests if elected and treat the mayor’s position as a full-time job. Ultimately he’s hoping his profile and reputation as a community-minded individual will convince voters to give him a chance. 

“People are very familiar with the work I do around here with boards, charities, and youth groups. It’s my chance to show I’m there for everyone.”

Lastly, Ewen says he wants to see residents of the RM involved in the electoral process, whoever they vote for.

“Just get out and vote,” he concludes.

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