The Progressive Conservative MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga is not seeking re-election in the province’s June vote for health reasons.
Michael Harris announced Saturday that due to a deteriorating eye disease, he has decided not to run as the Tory candidate for the local riding.
Please see my statement below: pic.twitter.com/GZc6yfD1aA
— Michael Harris (@Michaelharrispc) April 7, 2018
Harris has represented Kitchener-Conestoga since 2011. The riding is bounded by the townships of Wellesley, Woolwich and Wilmot, and southwestern Kitchener.
In a statement released Saturday, Harris says, “It has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, but I know for the sake of my health, it is the right call.”
Harris says he’s been battling a worsening case of Keratoconus for nearly 20 years, and has been putting off corneal replacement surgery for too long. Keratoconus can cause blindness.
He says he recently had a significant scare with his vision and he felt he could no longer delay this procedure.
“I know deep down, I should’t wait any longer,” the statement continues. “I need to put my health first.”
The 38 year old says the decision to step away was the hardest decision of his life, but was right considering he puts health and family first.
He added in that he has loved every moment of getting to represent his community in Kitchener-Conestoga and the Region of Waterloo.
Harris has served as the opposition critic for Research, Innovation & Science, and Transportation.
Several local politicians praised Harris on Twitter following the announcement:
Michael I’m sure many will be surprised by your decision. I know few people who enjoy being an MPP as much as you – this must have been a very difficult decision. I know that post-surgery you will return to politics with the same energy & convictions. Best – Fife
— Catherine Fife (@CFifeKW) April 7, 2018
It takes courage and conviction to put your name on a ballot, at any level of govt. Best of luck, Michael, in the future. I know we agree that Waterloo Region is the best place to live in and to serve!
— Kathryn McGarry (@Kathryn_McGarry) April 7, 2018
Michael, saddened to hear the news. Thank you for your service and representing your constituents with great passion. Public service is a humbling experience and comes at a sacrifice. Take care of your health and wishing you the best in the future.
— Raj Saini (@RajSainiMP) April 7, 2018
Michael, I am surprised by today’s news. Serving our community is a big personal and family sacrifice. Thank you for all of your work over many years to make Waterloo region and Ontario a great place for all of us. Please accept my best wishes on your health & with your future. https://t.co/Mt3Xhm3lf5
— Berry Vrbanovic (@berryonline) April 7, 2018
More to come.