Ward drops out of mayoral race, citing wellbeing, family

Retired lawyer urges unity in city

By Roderick Benns

Jason Ward.

Jason Ward, the high-profile Lindsay lawyer, is withdrawing from the mayoral race, saying he needs to focus on his own mental health and spend more time with his family.

In a letter addressed to the city, his friends and family, Ward writes that he “struggled profoundly” with his decision, noting it had been many months in the making. 

“Seeking (the) mayorship is in my mind the best way for me to give back to a place that has given so much to me and my family.”

However, Ward writes this would have meant giving it everything he had, just as he did with Wards Lawyers, the law firm owned by both him and his wife, Karissa. (The firm is also the official sponsor of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes.)

“I am very proud of WARDS LAWYERS, to which I also gave my everything – at a personal price,” Ward writes. “As it turns out, in my own journey, I neglected one, important thing, my own mental health and wellbeing. It is time for me to take better care of myself.”

Citing how much he loves, admires and needs to be with his wife and children, he writes that his kids “deserve their Dad’s unconditional, undistracted love and support.”  

In the letter, Ward then turns his attention to the city.

“I love our city – a dynamic, altruistic amalgam of so many vibrant, but individualized, communities. We cannot keep only to the past; progress is at our doorstep and must be embraced and managed, but without comprising our community values and way of living. Prosperity beckons, but only if we seek it together. This is my home, alongside you. We are poised to live better, all of us. Our new leaders must embrace growth and change – it is here, like it or not.”

The former lawyer writes that finding common ground, though, will be critical. 

“Unity will lead us to more prosperity, together. Divisive jingoism will only make us suffer missed opportunities and live at less than our potential.”

But Ward says this is not the end of his community involvement, noting he will give back in other ways.

“Giving back is what many of us do everyday – we all live better consequently. Everyone must find a way to give back in their own way; only then will we truly prosper and improve our lives and those of others we know and love.”

Ward admits this is “very difficult” for him. “But I know I am making the best choice for myself and my family.”

He remains hopeful and optimistic for the results of this October’s municipal election.

“Now is the time; truly great leadership will lead and take us where we all strive to be.”   

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