Homeschool Graduate Becomes the Youngest MPP
Homeschool graduate Sam Oosterhoff is making headlines as the youngest Member of Provincial Parliament. The 19 year old Brock University political science student won the November 17th by-election for the Niagara West-Glanbrook riding. The riding represents just over 120,000 voters. Oosterhoff captured 53% of the vote beating out 9 other candidates.
Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown applauded Oosterhoff for his efforts with community engagement and his thorough knowledge of the issues. The riding was made vacant by the departure of former PC leader Tim Hudak. Oosterhoff defeated Liberal candidate and Hamilton lawyer Vicky Ringuette and NDP candidate and retired police officer Mike Thomas.
Oosterhoff has publicly expressed his appreciation of his homeschooling experience and credits his family for instilling community values, dedication, and service. While he describes his educational journey as ‘wonderful’ he also has respect for the public school system and sees room for improvement. Oosterhoff also says he is committed to protecting parental rights in education.
Throughout the campaign Oosterhoff consistently stood firm on his personal convictions, but remained focussed on providing a voice for all constituents. His confidence in the face of his critics brought a renewed energy to local politics. Oosterhoff says his focus is on what he is going to do and not just what he has done. He has worked in both the public and private sector and says he has seen the damages done by the current provincial government. Oosterhoff plans to keep the spotlight on the issues that were echoed by the many constituents he met during the campaign, including increased hydro rates, cost of living, and hospital wait times.
The support from the local community, in addition to the PC caucus, continues to pour in as he makes his way to Queens Park. Oosterhoff has put his studies on hold at Brock University until January after which time he will continue on a part time basis. He is determined to complete his degree and believes he can do so while serving in the provincial government. Oosterhoff proved he is no stranger to hard work by attending university and working part time during the recent campaign. He plans to surround himself with great people and continue to put the constituents first to move forward successfully.
Although his new role will require him to be at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Oosterhoff wants to commute as much as possible in order to stay close to the constituents. The official swearing in ceremony for newly elected MPPs took place on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.