MORRISBURG – “It’s really about the community for me,” Michael Burton said. “If we don’t have happy kids, and happy seniors, and good things to do, we’re not going to grow.” Burton is vying for a seat at the Municipality of South Dundas’ council table. He’s currently a member of the municipality’s parks and recreation committee. An advocate for the environment, as well as for children and seniors, Burton’s focus is on growing community, one that encourages the township’s youth to make South Dundas their home as adults.

“It’s about connection and community and being strong, and that’s the only thing I’m fighting for,” he said. “My new focus for the park is a skateboard park and graffiti wall. I’ve done my studies throughout the province and any town that has these, their vandalism has gone down, their child obesity has gone down, their children’s school scores are going up. It’s just a win-win situation. If you don’t provide things for kids, if you constantly say ‘no’, then on the way out of town they destroy everything and never come back.”

Burton said he’d like to see a council that represents the diverse nature of the community. He’s hoping to be elected to one of the three available councillor positions.

“We can’t be a monoculture of people taking care of our community. We have to have different walks of life. We have to have different voices, different attitudes, and different insights and things,” he said.

While other candidates may bring expertise in areas like infrastructure or agriculture, Burton’s expertise, in addition to running a successful business, lies with his vast knowledge of social issues.

“I’m not just seeing my community. I’m seeing all communities from countries around the world, coming in and speaking the same truths and talking about the same anxieties, so I think that’s another good thing that I’m going to bring to the table. I’m not just speaking from this little room, I’m speaking from the hundreds of people that come through my house [in] a year, and that’s a really good sounding board for a lot of information.”

Burton owns and operates the Russell Manor Bed and Breakfast in Morrisburg. He said he has guests coming from all over Canada and the world, sharing their stories.

“I’m really hoping that people give it good thought this time as to who and what is going to be representative. There are many great names running, so pick the right people, not just because you know them, but because you believe in their platform. That’s my hope,” Burton said. To learn more about him, follow him on Facebook (Michael Burton for Community).