Steven Soos. DON RICKERS

Although Steven Soos’ recent motion before Regional Council to invoke a formal state of emergency in Niagara, related to mental health, addiction, and homelessness, was replaced by an alternative motion which Soos considered to be “watered-down,” he may now be viewing the process in a different light.

A byproduct of Soos’ persistent pursuit of social justice issues may turn out to be a coveted seat on Welland City Council, filling the place vacated by Lucas Spinoza, who resigned suddenly early in February. Council has not yet decided how the seat in Ward 3 will be filled, but the Municipal Act specifies that it has 60 days to do so, either through appointment or a by-election.

The Welland Tribune reported that former Welland political candidates John Mastroianni and Mark Dzugan both have council experience, and have indicated an interest in being considered for the seat. John Thomas McNall, who ran unsuccessfully in the election, is also receptive.

“I got an acknowledgement from [Mayor Frank Campion] about the letter of interest that I sent over,” said Soos. “He said my inquiry was forwarded to the Clerk’s department, which is the proper process.”

According to Soos, a number of Niagara-based politicians have come out in support of his possible nomination, including Niagara Falls Councillor Wayne Campbell, Thorold Councillor Jim Hanley, Port Colborne Regional Councillor Barbara Butters, and Welland Regional Councillor Leanna Villella. He also referred to Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin and Pelham Councillor Wayne Olson as being “extremely supportive of me in all my endeavours.”

Out campaigning in North Pelham during the 2020 Ward 1 by-election, candidate Steven Soos chats with riders Nick and Sarah, aboard their horses Floyd and Fancy. Soos says that he supports harsher penalties for animal abuse. SUPPLIED

Campbell went to bat publicly for Soos last week, posting online that “Soos is the right person to be appointed for the vacant seat on Welland Council. He is knowledgeable, supportive of the less fortunate, and well respected by citizens of the Welland community.”

Campbell encouraged Welland residents to contact council members to indicate their support for Soos, who has unsuccessfully sought political office numerous times. He most recently competed for a council seat in the Ward 1 2020 Pelham by-election won by Wayne Olson, and prior to that finished well back of Frank Campion in the 2018 Welland mayoral race.

Soos unabashedly calls himself a “political veteran” at age 26, given that he first ran for elected office at age 19. He said that part of his motivation to fill the vacant Ward 3 seat is to follow in the footsteps of past Welland councillors who have brought strong representation in the ward, and in particular, the late political firebrand Peter Kormos, whom Soos refers to as “my hero.”

I am a Wellander through and through, born and raised

“I am a Wellander through and through, born and raised,” Soos wrote on his Facebook page. He detailed how public service has been an important family tradition, and noted the contributions to the community by his father and grandfather. He stood behind his record as a “fighter for the underdog.”

Soos said that Ward 3 is “a special seat on Welland City Council, as it encompasses the downtown core. I think it is essential that we select someone who symbolizes the ‘heart of Welland.’”

Wayne Olson spoke at an online town hall meeting organized by Soos last Saturday, addressing mental health, homeless, and addiction.

“I want you to know that at this particular point in time, there is nothing more important to me and nothing more deserving of our focus than the issues before us right now,” Olson said in his prepared remarks.

Referring to leadership as a “social necessity,” Olson said he was grateful to Soos for “his leadership on these issues,” and noted the importance of acts of kindness during the pandemic.

“Small things mean a lot. Pick up the phone this afternoon and call somebody who you feel is isolated,” said Olson.

Asked about rumours that, should the Welland gig not materialize, he was contemplating another run at elected office in Pelham in 2022, Soos responded, “Hey, anything’s possible.”

 

 

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