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GETTING TO KNOW: Perth-Wellington PC candidate Matthew Rae

Rae is looking to take the lessons learned from Conservative allies, as well as on the farm and basketball court, to Queen's Park
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Progressive Conservative candidate Matthew Rae

Since he was 10 years old working on his parent's dairy farm outside Harriston, Matthew Rae said he learned the value of hard work.

The early hours feeding calves, having to care for chickens and cows throughout the year, mucking out stalls, handling bales of hay.

"I was very lucky to grow up on a farm, and it taught me a lot," he said. "The work ethic, and the importance of family, community and working hard."

Now, Rae is looking to put that work into action on the campaign trail as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Perth-Wellington.

He's an avid hiker and camper, and keeps involved in sport by helping out Play On! Canada with federal and provincial grant applications for street hockey tournaments.

However, hockey wasn't his go-to sport.

It was basketball, a sport he played while attending Norwell District Secondary School, where those lessons of hard work never went away.

"Even though I'm tall (at six foot four), I wasn't the tallest person in our district," Rae said. "There were taller guys (so) you couldn't rely on just your height. You had to work."

The 31-year-old University of Guelph graduate lives in Mitchell with his girlfriend Meghan, recently got a puppy (a red retriever named Athena) and keeps busy as the Director of University Relations at Shad Canada.

Rae's interest in politics and current events started when he was in sixth grade, when he and the rest of the world witnessed the terror attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

"(When that happened), I said 'I really need to understand the world I live in because all this stuff affects me,'" he recalled.

That eventually led him to start volunteering on campaigns when he became eligible to vote, and hasn't stopped since.

He worked on campaigns for current federal MP John Nater, who gave Rae a job once he was first elected to Parliament in 2015.

"John has obviously been a great friend, and has provided me with some advice as I started this journey a few months ago to potentially run," he said.

"(He's) been a great support, providing advice and his depth of experience as an elected member locally. It's always been great to bounce ideas off with him, and get his thoughts on things."

Rae was also the manager of outgoing MPP Randy Pettapiece's campaign in 2018.

But now, Rae looks to succeed him at Queen's Park after Pettapiece decided not to run for a fourth term.