By Sean Delaney
“It’s great to be able to connect with the members of the community. I’ve lived here my whole life, they’re my neighbours and its always a pleasure to talk to them about what they want to see for their community, for their lives and for the betterment of us all,” Rakocevic said about the end of the 2022 campaign. Win or lose, his passion is still connecting with people, and finding solutions to community problems, the now three term Humber River-Black Creek MPP said.
“The reception was warm, when people were speaking to me throughout the campaign,” he said. “But people are definitely facing tough times. We’re facing an affordability crisis, prices for everything are going through the roof. So, people are definitely talking about their challenges and needs for the future.”
And despite a repeat win, and strong support, Rakocevic is simply eager to get back to work. He said everyone he meets is feeling the squeeze, whether a tenant, a person on a fixed income, or a homeowner, everyone is struggling to pay the bills.
“We must work hard to get costs down, stop gouging, there is a lot that needs changing. A lot that could be fixed,” he said.
And while he isn’t surprised by the concerns, due to the economic conditions people are now facing, he believes work can be done to find solutions.
“It is as expected. We are coming out of a pandemic, and out of this pandemic, costs are going through the roof, and people are very open about the challenges they’re facing. Everyone is focused on this affordability crisis we are facing,” he said. And Emery Village has some direct examples of things he would like to see change. “One hundred percent. Car insurance remains a key example of the discrimination our community faces, and how we’re getting gouged. Protection of long-term care homes, our seniors and vulnerable. These are the only priorities for me. Costs, and gouging that allows others to make money off the backs of the most vulnerable.”
Rakocevic is also excited about the year ahead for his party. As they launch a leadership race to replace the departing Andrea Horwath, he said it is an exciting time, but also one that makes him reflect on the quality of Horwath’s leadership and the mentoring she offered him over the years.
“I am blessed to have such an incredible team. People of all ages came together to work for the better of all of us. I was really blessed to have such a big, large and exciting team,” he said. “I say to residents all the time that representing my lifelong home is my life’s greatest honour. Whenever you need me, whether for you, for your family or for your community, I am here and will always call you back and work with you.
“The greatest privilege in my life has been to represent my home community, and the greatest joy in my life is my children, my wife, and my family. They all mean so much to me.”