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Ward 2

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Ward 2 Candidates

Click link to jump to respective section of the survey:

Personal Info

 

1. What special skills or expertise do you possess that may be relevant to voters?

Scott Fitzgerald: I have worked in the IT industry for 15 years and as a result I know a lot about taking a good idea and, through consultation and teamwork, turning it into reality. I have almost 10 years of volunteer experience because when things need to be done I step up and offer to help; I get involved.

Andrew Harvey: I love people. This is my primary skill and expertise that is relevant to voters. I have a passion for building communities. To this end I became involved in Happy City early on in its formation, helping it evolve into the organization it is today. I also have a degree in social work, in which I focused on community development. Through this degree I have become an even better listener, which is probably the most important skill someone who wants to represent people can have.

2. What community organizations are you or have you been a member of?

Scott Fitzgerald: I have been a member of the St. Mary’s Elementary School Council since 2005 and I coach for various organizations such as Avalon Celtics Minor Hockey, St. John’s Youth Soccer, Beaconsfield Jr. High, and St. John’s Metro League Soccer.

Andrew Harvey:  I have been involved with Happy City since nearly the beginning. I was a big brother through Big Brothers, Big Sisters for over 6 years with the same child (now adult!). I have volunteered with the NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention centre since 2008, as a founding member and former chair of the men’s committee, a crisis line volunteer, and education committee member. I volunteered for a year at the MacMorran Community Centre after school program helping to tutor kids. I am also a founding member of the SJ Farmers Market Co-op. I am also a member of the NL Housing and Homelessness Network.

3. When and where have you run for public office before, and what public offices have you held?

Scott Fitzgerald: I ran for Ward 2 councillor in the 2009 St. John’s municipal election finishing runner-up. I have not held any other public office.

Andrew Harvey: I ran for Ward 2 in the last municipal election in 2009.

4. What business or commercial operations have you or your family members engaged in within the last five years that may put you into a conflict of interest in matters of municipal governance?

Scott Fitzgerald: None.

Andrew Harvey: None that I am aware of.

5. In which ward and neighbourhood is your principal residence located?

Scott Fitzgerald: I live in the West end of Ward 2.    

Andrew Harvey: I live in Ward 2, on Hamilton Ave.

 

 

Multiple Choice Questions

 

1. Of the following list of municipal issues, choose up to six that you consider priorities for improvement:

  • Public Transit
  • Snow Clearing
  • Lower Taxes for Residents
  • Lower Taxes for Businesses
  • Affordable Housing
  • Controlling Spending
  • Promoting Tourism
  • Crime Prevention
  • Roads
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Transparency and Public Engagement
  • Arts and Culture
  • Fiscal Relationship with the Province
  • Electoral Reform
  • Traffic
  • Parking
  • Stormwater Management
  • Urban Sprawl
  • Regional Cooperation
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure
  • Garbage, Recycling and Composting

Scott Fitzgerald:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Controlling Spending
  • Crime Prevention
  • Transparency and Public Engagement
  • Fiscal Relationship with the Province
  • Parking
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure

Andrew Harvey:

  • Public Transit
  • Lower Taxes for Residents
  • Lower Taxes for Businesses
  • Controlling Spending
  • Affordable Housing:
  • Transparency and Public Engagement

2. For the following list of statements, indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree:

a) The City of St. John’s should invest more in public services (water and sewer, public transit, snow clearing, etc.), even if this means raising taxes. 

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat disagree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

b) The City of St. John’s should reduce taxes, even if this means cuts to public services.

Scott Fitzgerald: Strongly disagree

Andrew Harvey: Neither agree nor disagree

c) The City of St. John’s should design regulations to encourage high density development in the city core and discourage urban sprawl. 

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

d) Metrobus service could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money. 

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat agree

e) The St. John’s Harbour Authority should be pressured to restore public access to sections of the waterfront that are being fenced off. 

Scott Fitzgerald: Strongly agree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat agree

f) The bylaw governing the use of mobile signs should be made more strict to discourage their use.

Scott Fitzgerald: Neither agree nor disagree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat disagree

g) New developments should be held to a zero net-runoff increase policy for stormwater, in order to protect watersheds and reduce the risk of flooding.

Scott Fitzgerald: (did not provide an answer)

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

h) Regulations to protect heritage areas in the city should be relaxed in order to encourage new development.

Scott Fitzgerald: Strongly disagree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat agree

i) The city should take a harder line with people who park illegally in fire lanes.

Scott Fitzgerald: Strongly agree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

j) Sidewalk snow clearing could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money.

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Neither agree nor disagree

k) The senior citizens tax reduction should be extended to all low income homeowners. 

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat disagree

l) The City of St. John’s should implement a municipal composting program.

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

m) Political donations to municipal candidates should be published in a public report and posted on the City of St. John’s website.

Scott Fitzgerald: Neither agree nor disagree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

n) City parks could benefit from minor improvements, but large additional investments are not a good use of taxpayers money. 

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat disagree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat agree

o) Traffic calming measures, including speed bumps and lower speed limits, should be expanded.

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

p) St. John’s should pursue amalgamation with neighbouring communities.

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat disagree

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

q) Loud motorcycles are a problem and bylaws should be enacted to restrict them.

Scott Fitzgerald: Somewhat agree

Andrew Harvey: Somewhat agree

r) The city should encourage more mixing of commercial and residential development.

Scott Fitzgerald: (did not provide an answer)

Andrew Harvey: Strongly agree

Long(er) Answer Questions

 

Arts and Culture

1. What specific initiatives would you undertake to support arts and artists in the city?

Scott Fitzgerald: I would like to see the city set aside a small parcel of land that artists could use to set up and display their products in the downtown area. I would like to see the city to continue support artists through grants as well.

Andrew Harvey: I think the city should continue to take a leadership role in helping identify the specific needs of the arts community and then working to leverage funding from higher levels of government for the specific infrastructure needs of the community.

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By-laws and enforcement

2. What should be done to discourage illegal parking in fire lanes and other parking violations?

Scott Fitzgerald: I think fines for parking in fire lanes and illegally parking in blue zones should be increased substantially but we have to enforce it more.

Andrew Harvey: Start ticketing people who are doing it! Work with retailers to setup cameras on these areas to actively enforce fire lanes.

3. Would you support a volunteer group of concerned citizens to monitor parking lots and issue tickets and/or report violations?

Scott Fitzgerald: No. I think this would have the potential to put citizens in harms way if they are issuing tickets themselves. Reporting would be fine.

Andrew Harvey: I think that you could easily develop an app for smartphones which could allow people to report violations and send a photo (which could be used as evidence) to the appropriate bylaw enforcement officer. I don’t think citizens should be in the business of issuing tickets though.

4. What should be done to improve the enforcement of traffic laws?

 Scott Fitzgerald: The installation of camera monitors where possible would help as a cost effective way to catch violators.

Andrew Harvey: More active enforcement. Highly publicized enforcement efforts on areas of concerns until driver behavior changes.

5. What can be done to reduce the number of parking tickets issued for parking on snow removal and street cleaning days?

Scott Fitzgerald: The city already offers an alert service to citizens to remind them when these services are happening. Maybe telephone notification could be added for those that do not use email.

Andrew Harvey: Put signs out on streets the day before street cleaning days. Better communication with areas affected by cleaning would help reduce the number of cars still on the streets.

6. What would you do to reduce illegal garbage dumping in the city?

Scott Fitzgerald: Again, setting up cameras could go a long way to helping catch violators but I think we need to make the landfill more accessible with better hours of operation. If we make it difficult for people to avail of they won’t use it.

Andrew Harvey: Mobile cameras seem to be working with other municipalities to help charge people who are illegally dumping. Once people start getting charged with this behaviour will eventually change.

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Crime

7. What is your take on crime in St. John’s and what should the city do about it?

Scott Fitzgerald: Crime is a major issue in my mind. We need to work with the Provincial government to increase the police presence here in the city – especially in ward 2. Bring foot patrols so that citizens and neighborhood groups can get to know their police officers and the police can create a better rapport with the citizens they protect. The city also needs to work with the bar owners and police to do a better job of securing George Street. Parents should not have to fear for the kids safety just because they are going out for a drink with friends. I have great faith in the RNC but we need to change the approach.

Andrew Harvey: Crime is rampant in the city to varying degrees. Much of the crime we hear about in the news is associated, in one way or another, with drugs and alcohol. The city needs to promote healthy, supportive communities so that individuals with substance abuse problems can work to address the underlying causes of their addiction. Much of this is outside of the realm of municipal politics, except the design and fostering of supportive communities, which can have a huge impact on peoples mental and physical health.

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Development and Urban Renewal

8. The St. John’s Board of Trade argues that the city needs more high density residential development and less urban sprawl. Do you support the Board’s position, and if so what policies would you implement to achieve it?

Scott Fitzgerald: I think the city should encourage developing in and up wherever possible. The city will no doubt continue to grow as the demand for housing continues to grow and lots of young families want to live in outlying subdivisions and cul-de-sacs but encouraging higher density is sound practice in our city’s long-term vision.

Andrew Harvey: I do support the Board’s position. I think that we need specific zoning and development regulations in place to allow this sort of high-density development to occur in specific areas where it is appropriate. This zoning and regulation needs to be done proactively so that exceptions don’t need to be made every time someone wants to go ahead with a large-scale development. When the rules are clear it helps expedite the process and provide certainty for the developer.

9. What should be done with vacant properties (e.g. abandoned grocery stores and soon-to-be-closed schools), and what should the city be doing to ensure that these spaces are put to good use?

Scott Fitzgerald: The city needs to be very hands-on in this process especially where there could be heritage building considerations such as some older schools. The city needs to ensure that any incentives that are available to these building owners encourage use not dereliction.

Andrew Harvey: Stop giving tax relief on buildings companies are intentionally keeping vacant. Other municipalities have bylaws which give the municipality the power to force companies or individuals to do something with vacant properties or be fined. In regards to vacant schools, we need to ensure that the Eastern School District is keeping the city involved about ongoing discussions about the future of these properties.

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Electoral reform

10. The City of Toronto is planning to move to a ranked ballot system for municipal elections. This system reduces the problem of vote splitting in races with more than two candidates. Would you support a similar reform in St. John’s? Would you support some other kind of reform?

Scott Fitzgerald: I would support this type of reform. I would also support term limits. In my opinion, once a councillor serves two terms in one position they should have to run for something else. For example, after two terms as a ward councillor you could run at-large or for Deputy Mayor or Mayor. This would encourage new people to get involved in the political process.

Andrew Harvey: I am never against looking at other options, but the current system seems to be sufficient at present. One piece of electoral reform I would like to see is a change in the provincial legislation to allow online voting.

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Heritage

11. How do we balance real estate development with the preservation of heritage in historic St. John’s?

Scott Fitzgerald: I think we have to do everything we can to ensure heritage preservation. St. John’s must do everything it can to let developers and businesses know we are open for business, but it should not be development at any cost. the Heritage District of St. John’s has to be protected and preserved. This is one of the main reasons people want to come and visit us, and it is one of the main reasons why so many people love to live here. It is a huge contributor to our quality of life. If we let some of this character go, it’s gone forever.

Andrew Harvey: Have a consistent set of rules which protect the heritage character of our city while not stifling development downtown.

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Housing affordability

12. What initiatives would you support or undertake to address the following issues?

  • (a) a shortage of available rental housing
  • (b) rising costs of rental housing
  • (c) rising house prices

Scott Fitzgerald:

(a) We need to continue and expand the affordable housing initiatives that are underway in the city. City Hall has to make this a priority for the continued development of our city, especially the downtown. We want to bring more people to the downtown not drive them away.

(b) I think the city should look into the possibility of rent control and affordable housing initiatives such as the 1 in 10 approach which sees 1 of every 10 developments made available at lower costs.

(c) Rising house prices leads to higher costs of living and the debate over the mil rate. The city of St. John’s has to continue to push for a different type of fiscal arrangement with the Province so that citizens do not feel the pinch more and more year after year simply because someone arbitrarily decides their house is worth more now than it was the year before. Seniors are one group hit particularly high by rising property taxes. At the very least they should be exempt from rising tax rates until they sell the home they are in.

Andrew Harvey: 

(a) Require new developments to include an amount of homes with secondary units which create additional rental properties.

(b) By creating more available rental units we can drive the cost down. I would also support strengthened rent control legislation from the province, but this only addresses increases in rent, not the already high costs we have.

(c) Require developers to build one unit in ten as affordable housing in new developments. The definition of affordable simply means the unit is modest in scale and is less then the average cost. Developers can also be given bonus density as a means to encourage affordable housing development, which makes it a profit-making venture for them while increasing affordable housing stock in the city.

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Immigration

13. What initiatives have you been involved with, or would you implement, to promote a welcoming and supportive environment for immigrants and refugees in our community?

Scott Fitzgerald: I do not know a lot about this type of initiative but it is clear that we need to grow our population and birthrate will not be enough. We need to encourage immigration.

Andrew Harvey: I currently work with Home Share NL, which helps place post-secondary students with 50+ homeowners. Through this program and my former position at the Off-Campus Housing office I have helped hundreds of international students make the transition to St. John’s by assisting them in finding housing.

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Intergovernmental relationships

14. What are two specific initiatives/issues at the federal or provincial level that you would commit to advocating for if you were elected?

Scott Fitzgerald: I believe that the city should be advocating for a municipal sustainability initiative similar to that of Alberta. This would see municipalities in the province get predictable, sustainable municipal infrastructure funding.

Andrew Harvey: Find a mechanism to receive a payment in lieu of property tax on provincially owned buildings and to require the provincial government to submit development applications as private developers are. I would also petition the provincial government to no longer require the city to pay HST for goods and services it uses.

15. What opportunities for regional cooperation with neighbouring communities do you think should be pursued?

Scott Fitzgerald: A regional transportation system seems like an obvious and excellent place to start to build regional cooperation.    

Andrew Harvey: Public Transportation. This is the next natural initiative for communities on the NE Avalon to pursue together. It would help us alleviate parking issues in areas of St. John’s, especially downtown, reduce traffic, and reduce burden on our already crumbling infrastructure.

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Municipal pensions

16. A recent submission from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business called for reforming the pensions of public sector workers. Their recommendations include:

  • Converting from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’ pensions
  • Ending incentives to retire early
  • Fully disclosing pension liabilities using a consistent methodology

Where do you stand on this issue?

Scott Fitzgerald: No answer.

Andrew Harvey: I would support a move to a mixed/hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution pension plan which allow employers and employees to share the risks and costs of pension plans. This has been adopted by other municipalities and seems to be a good way to address underfunded pension liabilities, which we have a huge issue with in St. John’s, while treating the people who have worked their whole lives for the city fairly.

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Public spaces and walkability

17. How would you foster community spaces and walkability in the city?

Scott Fitzgerald:  As you walk around Ward 2, there are many spaces that could be cleaned up and provided to citizens of the city for things like open air yoga studios, or benches for chess and card games.

Andrew Harvey: Well designed communities and preservation of public thru-ways and parks can encourage community spaces and walkability.

18. Do you support the harbour fence initiative? What would you do about it if elected?

Scott Fitzgerald: I do not support the harbour fence and if I was elected I would do everything I could to ensure that access to the harbour apron was not restricted.

Andrew Harvey: I do not support giving money towards infrastructure costs which are outside of the control of the city. If elected I would petition the harbour authority to maintain as much public access to the harbour as possible. Ultimately, council has no control over the harbour authority, so we should stop giving them money.

19. A commonly used walking trail between Cowan Heights and Sobey’s Square has been cut off by the Team Gushue Highway extension. Would you support the installation of a culvert tunnel so that pedestrians would not be forced to cross the highway?

Scott Fitzgerald: Absolutely. As a runner and someone who loves to use these trails I think it is extremely poor planning to cut access. We should build more of these types of trails so that more parts of the city are connected.

Andrew Harvey: Yes, having safe access for pedestrians is important.

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Regulations and red tape

20. How would you increase the speed of regulatory approvals for new business operations in the city (i.e. certification for restaurants, cafes, etc.)?

Scott Fitzgerald: No answer.

Andrew Harvey: Moving towards online application and approvals for routine certificates and applications which do not require inspections, etc.

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Seniors

21. What initiatives would you support to make the city safer and more accessible for our seniors?

Scott Fitzgerald: The answer is that I would support any initiative that would identify and eliminate any barriers to safety and accessibility facing our seniors. I believe seniors need to be respected for helping get our city to where it is today.

Andrew Harvey: Any initiatives to improve walkability and public transportation. I would also look at requiring new developments to include a portion of new units built to universal design standards.

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Snow clearing

22. How do you propose to improve road and sidewalk snow clearing in St. John’s? Please address both and provide specific details.

Scott Fitzgerald: I would like to study the sidewalk snow clearing plan and see if there were ways to do it a little smarter before we invest more money in. After we make some improvements in the efficiency of the program we should look at further investment. In ward 2, one of the biggest problems with snow clearing is the lack of snow removal. In areas where people park on the street because there is no off-street parking available, like Cochrane St for example, we are making life for residents very difficult by piling snow on their cars and front steps.

Andrew Harvey: As noted previously I think that the city should bring in a bylaw as Halifax has implemented requiring homeowners to clear snow in front of their properties. There needs to be some accommodations made for people living on streets where there is no where to put snow.

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Stormwater management and flooding

23. Last year, a City Commissioner’s report found that watersheds, bridges, and culverts are unable to handle any additional stormwater runoff from planned developments above the 190m contour (such as Dannyville). The report recommends a zero-net increase runoff policy for new developments. Would you require developers to submit a blueprint that clearly incorporates a zero-net increase stormwater management plan prior to any land clearance or developmental phase? If so, how would you ensure that developers follow this policy?

Scott Fitzgerald: Admittedly, this is not something I know a lot about but the internet is a wonderful thing! If these issues are being identified now before the development has begun, we would be foolish to ignore these recommendations. The city will need to set down the appropriate by-laws concerning development above the 190m contour and in turn follow their own guidelines and enforce it.

Andrew Harvey: I would agree to implementing a zero-net increase of stormwater for new developments. Our normal development process and system of inspections can ensure developers are following this policy.

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Tax policy

24. Tell us your position on tax policy, addressing some or all of the following questions:

  • (a) How important is it to keep taxes low?
  • (b) Do businesses pay too much or too little tax relative to residences?
  • (c) Should tax breaks be provided to low income people who are not old enough to qualify for the seniors reduction? What about to senior citizens whose income is too high to qualify?
  • (d) How do you feel about the recent decision to blend the business occupancy tax and the business realty tax into a single tax?
  • (e) Would you consider blending the water rate into the residential realty tax to encourage more basement apartments?
  • (f) Would you consider introducing residential water metering so that households are charged for the amount of water used rather than a flat rate per unit?
  • (g) Would you consider a tax on land value as opposed to property value as a way to encourage more efficient use of land?
  • (h) Should the tax break for vacant commercial property be eliminated?

Scott Fitzgerald: It’s obviously important to keep taxes as low as possible. Seniors should be exempt from rising property taxes. Yes to (c) and (h).

Andrew Harvey: 

(a) Extremely important. It is the responsibility of the city to ensure citizens tax dollars are well spent. The balance is finding a level of service that people are happy with can be supported by a level of taxation people can agree with.

(c) I would favour a tax deferral program to allow homeowners on fixed incomes to stay in their home and allow the city to recover all of the tax owing when the homeowner sells the house.

(d) This decision seems to have been a good one, which results in the same amount of tax coming in for the city.

(e) Yes, but also possibly in combination with a water meter.

(f) I have heard a great deal of support for introducing water meters on homes to ensure the cost of residential water is being borne by those who are using the water.

(h) Yes. See above about other measures which could be taken to encourage or require use of  vacant properties.

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Transportation

25. In 2011, a transit study was released that made a number of recommendations for improving public transit in the City of St. John’s, including:

  •  Increase service between Downtown and the MUN/HSC/Avalon Mall corridor.
  • Negotiate a deal to provide Metrobus passes to all students at MUN/CNA for a mandatory fee.
  • Allow city employees to trade free parking at work for cash or a Metrobus pass.
  • Establish a park-and-ride program for commuters.
  • Increase the price of parking in the west end of Downtown.
  • Develop a regional transit plan involving Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, and Torbay.

What is your vision for public transit, with specific reference to some or all of the recommendations above?

Scott Fitzgerald: The public transportation system here is no where near where it should be for a region the size of the Northeast Avalon. A regional approach is required to make it work for people and encourage fewer cars in the city. The downtown, for example, is an area conducive to people not owning cars given its density however the frequency of routes to and from the downtown does not make it practical. If we want people to use it, we have to show that it can work for people.

Andrew Harvey: I think we should begin enacting the recommendation of the 2011 Metrobus study. Specifically, working towards a regional transportation system through park-and-ride programs which could be jointly funded by other municipalities. I also think changing bus routes to focus on busy routes is an important step to creating a bus system which is adequate to meet the transportation needs of commuters.

26. What initiatives would you undertake with respect to transportation infrastructure in and around the city?

Scott Fitzgerald: No answer.

Andrew Harvey: I would seek to improve public transportation, and other traffic-diversion measures to encourage people to take alternative transportation downtown. This will help alleviate traffic and parking concerns downtown. This can be as simple as putting more bike racks in downtown.

27. What should be done about painted road markings that fade away for much of the year?

Scott Fitzgerald: Every year line painting crews work until well into August re-painting lines on the road. The city needs to look into alternative methods. There have [been] trials with decal-like products for example. At the very least, more durable paint needs to be used.

Andrew Harvey: We recently had a pilot project on a new type of paint that should last 2-3 years on busy intersections. This pilot project seems to have been successful and should be expanded to other intersections.


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Free Space

If there any other important issues you would like to address, please do so here:

Scott Fitzgerald: No answer.

Andrew Harvey: The questions asked seems to have been comprehensive. For more information please check out my full platform at www.VoteAndrewHarvey.com

 

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