By Villeneuve, Melissa on September 19, 2017.
Three mayoral candidates will race for the top spot in the October Lethbridge Municipal Election.
In June, incumbent Mayor Chris Spearman announced his intentions to seek re-election. Until Nomination Day on Monday, it was unclear whether he would be contested. However, two other candidates – Martin Heavy Head and Robert (Bob) Janzen – also put their names forward. It is the first time both Heavy Head and Janzen have run for mayor. Janzen ran for council in 2004 and in 2010, while Heavy Head ran for council in 2013.
“That’s the way democracy works,” said Mayor Spearman. “People who feel they can do a good job either as a councillor or as mayor have the opportunity to file their papers, also the school boards … I’m excited that we’re going to have an election and there will be some public discussions.”
When he announced his intentions to seek another term, Spearman said it was important for the city to continue to progress. He feels it’s been a positive four-year term for council and that they’ve done well in terms of economic development and job creation. They’ve also made progress on “decades-old social issues,” he explained, including a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“I think people will reflect on what this council has done and make their choices accordingly,” he said. “There’s always room for new ideas and new voices at the council table. We need to make sure that all sectors are represented as much as possible and I think we need to be open to those new ideas as well.”
As mayor, Spearman said it’s important to be accessible and engaged with the community. He says he’s done his best to do that, putting in about 80 hours per week attending various community functions.
“I’m happy to do it again for another four years, but if the community decides they want to go in a different direction, I accept their choices.”
Nomination Day brought a diverse list of candidates to the forefront. A total of 29 candidates for councillor filed their papers, including seven of the eight incumbent Lethbridge city councillors. Couns. Joe Mauro, Ryan Parker, Blaine Hyggen, Liz Iwaskiw, Jeffrey Coffman, Jeff Carlson, and Rob Miyashiro are all seeking re-election. Coun. Bridget Mearns declared late last week she would not be entering the race this year.
Eight of the 29 councillor candidates are women, an increase from five of 29 candidates who ran in the 2013 Municipal Election.
There are 16 candidates vying for one of the seven positions open for Lethbridge Public School Trustee. Current Board Chair Mich Forster announced last week he would not seek re-election. The six other incumbent public trustees – Tyler Demers, Jan Foster, Keith Fowler, Donna Hunt, Don Lacey, and Lola Major – will all seek re-election.
For the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate Regional Division No. 4, three positions were acclaimed (Wards 1, 4 and 5). There are seven candidates for five positions in Ward 2, which covers Lethbridge, Coalhurst, Mountain Meadows, Raymond, Stirling and Sunset Acres. There was no candidate for Ward 3, so nominations will remain open from 10 a.m. to noon today at City Hall.
The unofficial list of candidates is correct as of noon on Monday. Candidates have up to 24 hours to withdraw. The nomination list will become official at noon today. To view the full list, visit lethbridge.ca.
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