Nelson Mayor John Dooley will seek a fourth term in office. He made the announcement early Friday morning.
“I am putting my name forward for re-election as mayor of Nelson. I have been encouraged by my family and a wide range of citizens to seek office,” he said.
Dooley said he still has a passion for municipal politics.
“I’m still very excited about the future and passionate about the community and I truly love what I do.”
As mayor, Dooley said he’s been busy solidifying some of the city’s basic needs.
“I’ve focused, in the last couple of years, on rebuilding the platform that we have at the municipality around our core services — your sewer, water, some of the not-too-fancy stuff, but stuff that’s critical to the everyday operation of the municipality.”
He has also focused on ensuring Nelson has a strong economic base.
“Building our reserves, making sure we are financially stable, which we are, and also going out to the province and the country and the world for that matter to promote the Nelson brand. I think we are starting to see the results of that work happening over the last couple of years.”
But finances and building new revenue streams remain challenges that Dooley said the city must continue to focus on.
“It’s really important for us to make sure we have sustainable growth in our community. That we’re generating additional tax base to try and spread the burden out a little bit more. So generally speaking it boils down to finance and the capacity to do everything that people believe we should be able to do,” he said.
Overall, Dooley believes council has done a good job of finding ways to deliver sources of revenue to the community. Nelson has remained strong, despite recent economic difficulties, he said.
“I have been able to guide our city through a recession that devastated many communities. Working with council and utilizing the many skills of our staff and volunteers, Nelson has emerged stronger than ever.”
When he looks back on the past nine years in office, the mayor said it’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing to be proud of.
“I’m proud of a lot of things. I’m proud of the way we have stabilized local government. It was a very fractured local government when I took over as mayor. We had a lot of conflict for many years before. I believe that I create a stability at the top end, which is at the political side, and in turn create a stability within our workforce, confidence, trust and I think that’s reflected throughout our community,” said Dooley.
He believes you can see the benefit of that stability in many ways including the way people feel prouder of Nelson than ever before. He also said it shows in the drastic increase the city has experienced in its volunteer base.
“We have some great ideas coming forward from the community because they feel as though they are in an environment where they can get things done.”
With the election campaign set to heat up in October, the Star asked the mayor what he feels is the biggest issue that will be debated by prospective candidates.
“I wouldn’t like to put any election down to issues. I think that most people who put their name forward for council or mayor are trying to do good things for the community and there’s lots to be done, I can tell you that.”
He added that being on council is both rewarding and enjoyable.
“It’s a fun job and I enjoy meeting people. Probably the best thing of all is that when I meet people they know about Nelson. They’ve heard about Nelson. They want to come to Nelson and they are always very positive about who we are and what we are doing.
“I look forward to talking to citizens about their ideas and areas to focus for the years ahead. I am passionate and excited about years and times ahead. It will be my honour to serve as the mayor of the city of Nelson.”
Dooley has served on city council since 1999. He was first elected as a councillor and became mayor in 2005. He was re-elected in 2008 and in 2011, when he won a huge majority over Richard Rowberry, who ran as the ghost of founding mayor John Houston, and George Mercredi.
If Dooley is re-elected, he would soon break the record for longest consecutive term of office, currently held by Norman Stibbs, who served nine years between 1938 and 1946. Louis Maglio is Nelson’s longest-serving mayor at 14 years, over three stints between 1966 and 1985.
So far Dooley is the lone challenger for mayor, although councillor Deb Kozak has long been rumoured to be considering a run at the city’s top job.