Though the June 12 provincial election will be the first time Kevin Shaw's name appears on a ballot, he has always had a keen interest in politics.
"It goes back to when I as very young - five, six, seven-years-old," said the Green Party of Ontario candidate in the riding of Sarnia-Lambton.
"In our family I remember getting together at Christmas, Thanksgiving and other family events and the conversation would always turn to politics, eventually. That was what I thought was normal," he said with a chuckle.
Shaw, 41, grew up just outside of Brigden and graduated from Brigden Public School and LCCVI in Petrolia. He earned degrees from the University of Waterloo and Queen's University.
Shaw is a math teacher at St. Clair Secondary School in Sarnia. He said his career would play an integral part in helping with the transition to Queen's Park, should the electorate make that decision.
"Even though I've not been in politics before, I deal with the public every day," he said, noting interaction with students and parents on a regular basis has helped him hone his skills in negotiations and diplomacy.
The married father of three says he wants to bring honesty, integrity, teamwork and fairness to political office, all qualities instilled in him by his parents who are lifelong volunteers.
"People are so disappointed (with politicians) right now," said Shaw. "There is a lot of time where nothing happens that's productive. We want our elected officials to do their jobs and make decisions that are good for the people and move our province forward."
But, he knows he can't be a one-man team.
"So the key is to surround yourself with good people that you trust and who you know are going to help lift some of the load and do some of the work with you."
The thoughtful nature of provincial Green leader Mike Schreiner has drawn Shaw to the party.
"He has attracted a lot of people to the party that are like me, who haven't historically been involved with a (particular) political party," he said.
Shaw believes the party approach of strengthening local communities, instead of having all decisions made at the provincial level, is the wave of the future.
As for why he’s jumping into the political fray, he said he doesn't want to look back 20 years from now and regret not getting involved in the process when he had the opportunity.
"I think I have a lot to offer," he said.
Name: Kevin Shaw
Party: Green Party
Occupation: High School Teacher
Previous elections: None
Marital status: Married to Laura 13 years
Most important issue: Jobs and lack of trust in government
- Barry Wright