Sweet savouring his role as he settles in as MP for ADFW

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Rookie Member of Parliament David Sweet faces one main challenge during his first months in government - balancing work in his constituency with Conservative Party responsibilities in Ottawa.

Sweet hopes to open several satellite offices throughout his large riding, in addition to his main constituency office off Hwy. 8 in Greensville.

Dundas resident and political science professor Henry Jacek figures a lack of focus on constituent concerns is the typical downfall of any new MP. And Jacek wonders what effect the location of the new Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale constituency office will have.

Sweet held his local office grand opening Saturday, six days after first opening to the public, at 59 Kirby Avenue in Greensville.

"We have a very big riding," Sweet said, adding he tried to get as close to the centre of the four communities as possible. "It's always going to be inconvenient for somebody. We found a local site with free parking. The (Greensville) library branch is right next to me."

There is no city bus service to the area. The closest HSR route ends at Head Street in Dundas. Trentway Wagar bus line offers a Hamilton to Cambridge route that passes by on Hwy. 8. Sweet said his staff will pick up any constituent who takes the HSR bus to the end of its route.

Jacek said he was surprised by the location choice. He thinks the centre of the riding would be somewhere in Dundas. But he was particularly interested in Sweet's plan to open more offices.

"I'm looking at getting locations in Flamborough, Westdale and Ancaster," the new MP said. "It's something I want to do."

He noted any satellite offices have to be covered within his budget.

"I don't know how he's going to do it," Jacek said. "That would be very unusual."

He suggested the easiest way to open extra offices would be to share space with another area politician, but that would probably have to involve another Conservative Party member. Both local provincial parliament members are Liberals.

Working with those local representatives, as well as city councillors, is among the early priorities for Sweet.

"That's something I've promised to do," he said. "We really need to come to the area's concerns as a united front. I'm certain we're not going to agree on every issue, but let's move forward on issues we have agreement and some momentum."

Sweet has already met with city councillors and planned to meet with MPP Ted McMeekin last weekend.

In the first full month since winning the January 23 election, he also met with McMaster University president Peter George and members of his senior staff. They wanted to verify the government's commitment to the Main Street West research park planned at the former (Westinghouse) site.

"I'm working on that," Sweet said. "It's best to say I'm working on it."

He wouldn't confirm anything until after he's had a chance to meet with the government minister responsible.

"I will be careful not to promise anything I can't deliver."

The focus on local riding issues would probably meet with Jacek's approval.

The political analyst said first term MPs are particularly vulnerable and must work hard to establish relationships within the area they represent.

"It's sometimes called the liability of newness," Jacek said. "If I was advising any first year MP, I'd advise them to devote their time to the constituency. Don't get too caught up in the Ottawa scene."

Sweet has applied to three parliamentary committees: agriculture, public accounts and defence.

Positions on the defence and public accounts committees don't appear to offer much benefit to the local riding, Jacek said.

He did support the idea of Sweet joining the agriculture committee, because of the large number of farms in the riding's large rural areas.

Jacek suggested the local MP should also be focused on city issues, such as public transit.

Sweet's constituency office first opened on Monday, February 20. He is using the same phone number former MP Russ Powers used, which still featured Powers on the voice mail message the day the office opened .

Sweet is in the process of moving into his Ottawa office and is currently sharing space in the capital with Niagara West-Glanbrook MP Dean Allison.

Jacek wasn't critical of Sweet's first few weeks as MP. "It's not easy to get up and running. I have some sympathy for new MPs," he said. "It's not easy in that first month."

Besides meeting with people in the riding, the past month has seen Sweet make a few trips to Ottawa. He's participated in a House of Commons orientation and a Conservative Party orientation. He's found an Ottawa apartment, but still has to move in some furniture.

Sweet is aware it will be a challenge balancing constituency work and time in Ottawa. "I am going to give my best in both areas," he said. "I am really in the process of listening and learning."

He understands Prime Minister Stephen Harper's controversial move to bring David Emerson over to the party from the Liberals, noting that it provides valuable representation in cabinet.

He said Prime Minister Harper needed to make his cabinet more representative of the entire country and adding Emerson, with his experience on the 2010 Winter Olympics file and the softwood lumber debate, will be helpful to the government.

Sweet didn't say if he thought Emerson should run in a by-election as a Conservative.

"We're all accountable to our constituents," Sweet said.

"That's the complexity of the issue."

Sweet plans to use the Hamilton airport's convenient service to and from Ottawa.

"The constituency work is very important. I want to be here as much as I can."

Sweet savouring his role as he settles in as MP for ADFW

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Rookie Member of Parliament David Sweet faces one main challenge during his first months in government - balancing work in his constituency with Conservative Party responsibilities in Ottawa.

Sweet hopes to open several satellite offices throughout his large riding, in addition to his main constituency office off Hwy. 8 in Greensville.

Dundas resident and political science professor Henry Jacek figures a lack of focus on constituent concerns is the typical downfall of any new MP. And Jacek wonders what effect the location of the new Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale constituency office will have.

Sweet held his local office grand opening Saturday, six days after first opening to the public, at 59 Kirby Avenue in Greensville.

"We have a very big riding," Sweet said, adding he tried to get as close to the centre of the four communities as possible. "It's always going to be inconvenient for somebody. We found a local site with free parking. The (Greensville) library branch is right next to me."

There is no city bus service to the area. The closest HSR route ends at Head Street in Dundas. Trentway Wagar bus line offers a Hamilton to Cambridge route that passes by on Hwy. 8. Sweet said his staff will pick up any constituent who takes the HSR bus to the end of its route.

Jacek said he was surprised by the location choice. He thinks the centre of the riding would be somewhere in Dundas. But he was particularly interested in Sweet's plan to open more offices.

"I'm looking at getting locations in Flamborough, Westdale and Ancaster," the new MP said. "It's something I want to do."

He noted any satellite offices have to be covered within his budget.

"I don't know how he's going to do it," Jacek said. "That would be very unusual."

He suggested the easiest way to open extra offices would be to share space with another area politician, but that would probably have to involve another Conservative Party member. Both local provincial parliament members are Liberals.

Working with those local representatives, as well as city councillors, is among the early priorities for Sweet.

"That's something I've promised to do," he said. "We really need to come to the area's concerns as a united front. I'm certain we're not going to agree on every issue, but let's move forward on issues we have agreement and some momentum."

Sweet has already met with city councillors and planned to meet with MPP Ted McMeekin last weekend.

In the first full month since winning the January 23 election, he also met with McMaster University president Peter George and members of his senior staff. They wanted to verify the government's commitment to the Main Street West research park planned at the former (Westinghouse) site.

"I'm working on that," Sweet said. "It's best to say I'm working on it."

He wouldn't confirm anything until after he's had a chance to meet with the government minister responsible.

"I will be careful not to promise anything I can't deliver."

The focus on local riding issues would probably meet with Jacek's approval.

The political analyst said first term MPs are particularly vulnerable and must work hard to establish relationships within the area they represent.

"It's sometimes called the liability of newness," Jacek said. "If I was advising any first year MP, I'd advise them to devote their time to the constituency. Don't get too caught up in the Ottawa scene."

Sweet has applied to three parliamentary committees: agriculture, public accounts and defence.

Positions on the defence and public accounts committees don't appear to offer much benefit to the local riding, Jacek said.

He did support the idea of Sweet joining the agriculture committee, because of the large number of farms in the riding's large rural areas.

Jacek suggested the local MP should also be focused on city issues, such as public transit.

Sweet's constituency office first opened on Monday, February 20. He is using the same phone number former MP Russ Powers used, which still featured Powers on the voice mail message the day the office opened .

Sweet is in the process of moving into his Ottawa office and is currently sharing space in the capital with Niagara West-Glanbrook MP Dean Allison.

Jacek wasn't critical of Sweet's first few weeks as MP. "It's not easy to get up and running. I have some sympathy for new MPs," he said. "It's not easy in that first month."

Besides meeting with people in the riding, the past month has seen Sweet make a few trips to Ottawa. He's participated in a House of Commons orientation and a Conservative Party orientation. He's found an Ottawa apartment, but still has to move in some furniture.

Sweet is aware it will be a challenge balancing constituency work and time in Ottawa. "I am going to give my best in both areas," he said. "I am really in the process of listening and learning."

He understands Prime Minister Stephen Harper's controversial move to bring David Emerson over to the party from the Liberals, noting that it provides valuable representation in cabinet.

He said Prime Minister Harper needed to make his cabinet more representative of the entire country and adding Emerson, with his experience on the 2010 Winter Olympics file and the softwood lumber debate, will be helpful to the government.

Sweet didn't say if he thought Emerson should run in a by-election as a Conservative.

"We're all accountable to our constituents," Sweet said.

"That's the complexity of the issue."

Sweet plans to use the Hamilton airport's convenient service to and from Ottawa.

"The constituency work is very important. I want to be here as much as I can."

Sweet savouring his role as he settles in as MP for ADFW

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Rookie Member of Parliament David Sweet faces one main challenge during his first months in government - balancing work in his constituency with Conservative Party responsibilities in Ottawa.

Sweet hopes to open several satellite offices throughout his large riding, in addition to his main constituency office off Hwy. 8 in Greensville.

Dundas resident and political science professor Henry Jacek figures a lack of focus on constituent concerns is the typical downfall of any new MP. And Jacek wonders what effect the location of the new Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale constituency office will have.

Sweet held his local office grand opening Saturday, six days after first opening to the public, at 59 Kirby Avenue in Greensville.

"We have a very big riding," Sweet said, adding he tried to get as close to the centre of the four communities as possible. "It's always going to be inconvenient for somebody. We found a local site with free parking. The (Greensville) library branch is right next to me."

There is no city bus service to the area. The closest HSR route ends at Head Street in Dundas. Trentway Wagar bus line offers a Hamilton to Cambridge route that passes by on Hwy. 8. Sweet said his staff will pick up any constituent who takes the HSR bus to the end of its route.

Jacek said he was surprised by the location choice. He thinks the centre of the riding would be somewhere in Dundas. But he was particularly interested in Sweet's plan to open more offices.

"I'm looking at getting locations in Flamborough, Westdale and Ancaster," the new MP said. "It's something I want to do."

He noted any satellite offices have to be covered within his budget.

"I don't know how he's going to do it," Jacek said. "That would be very unusual."

He suggested the easiest way to open extra offices would be to share space with another area politician, but that would probably have to involve another Conservative Party member. Both local provincial parliament members are Liberals.

Working with those local representatives, as well as city councillors, is among the early priorities for Sweet.

"That's something I've promised to do," he said. "We really need to come to the area's concerns as a united front. I'm certain we're not going to agree on every issue, but let's move forward on issues we have agreement and some momentum."

Sweet has already met with city councillors and planned to meet with MPP Ted McMeekin last weekend.

In the first full month since winning the January 23 election, he also met with McMaster University president Peter George and members of his senior staff. They wanted to verify the government's commitment to the Main Street West research park planned at the former (Westinghouse) site.

"I'm working on that," Sweet said. "It's best to say I'm working on it."

He wouldn't confirm anything until after he's had a chance to meet with the government minister responsible.

"I will be careful not to promise anything I can't deliver."

The focus on local riding issues would probably meet with Jacek's approval.

The political analyst said first term MPs are particularly vulnerable and must work hard to establish relationships within the area they represent.

"It's sometimes called the liability of newness," Jacek said. "If I was advising any first year MP, I'd advise them to devote their time to the constituency. Don't get too caught up in the Ottawa scene."

Sweet has applied to three parliamentary committees: agriculture, public accounts and defence.

Positions on the defence and public accounts committees don't appear to offer much benefit to the local riding, Jacek said.

He did support the idea of Sweet joining the agriculture committee, because of the large number of farms in the riding's large rural areas.

Jacek suggested the local MP should also be focused on city issues, such as public transit.

Sweet's constituency office first opened on Monday, February 20. He is using the same phone number former MP Russ Powers used, which still featured Powers on the voice mail message the day the office opened .

Sweet is in the process of moving into his Ottawa office and is currently sharing space in the capital with Niagara West-Glanbrook MP Dean Allison.

Jacek wasn't critical of Sweet's first few weeks as MP. "It's not easy to get up and running. I have some sympathy for new MPs," he said. "It's not easy in that first month."

Besides meeting with people in the riding, the past month has seen Sweet make a few trips to Ottawa. He's participated in a House of Commons orientation and a Conservative Party orientation. He's found an Ottawa apartment, but still has to move in some furniture.

Sweet is aware it will be a challenge balancing constituency work and time in Ottawa. "I am going to give my best in both areas," he said. "I am really in the process of listening and learning."

He understands Prime Minister Stephen Harper's controversial move to bring David Emerson over to the party from the Liberals, noting that it provides valuable representation in cabinet.

He said Prime Minister Harper needed to make his cabinet more representative of the entire country and adding Emerson, with his experience on the 2010 Winter Olympics file and the softwood lumber debate, will be helpful to the government.

Sweet didn't say if he thought Emerson should run in a by-election as a Conservative.

"We're all accountable to our constituents," Sweet said.

"That's the complexity of the issue."

Sweet plans to use the Hamilton airport's convenient service to and from Ottawa.

"The constituency work is very important. I want to be here as much as I can."