The autumn rains have arrived, the leaves are changing hue and the those bold enough to face picky local voters have started to eagerly roll into City Hall with their election papers.
It’s municipal election season and like the start of any change, there’s much anticipation.
Nominations opened earlier this week and a few big names have already grabbed headlines. John Dooley will be seeking his third term as mayor, longtime councillor Donna Macdonald has stepped up once again and Josh Smienk has shaken off a loss at the provincial level to Michelle Mungall in hopes of getting back his old Area E post.
Other local political veterans have declared their intentions. Margaret Stacey, Robin Cherbo, Bob Adams, Ramona Faust, Andy Shadrack, Hans Cunningham and Walter Popoff will all be on various ballots around the region come mid-November.
It’s a decent start, but our hope is the field will fill out considerably.
Three years ago the race for mayor was somewhat interesting with lawyer and Kutenai Landing watchdog David Aaron making a splash. A relative newcomer to the community, the feisty Aaron managed to push veteran councillor Gord MacAdams to the background and finished second to Dooley.
Though there were some sparks in the race for the big chair, the council race was disappointing. With seven candidates vying for six spots, it was hardly a contest at all. Making things worse, six of those were incumbents.
Not too long ago municipal elections in Nelson were fierce battles with as many as 19 candidates (2002). Sure the Central School stage was congested during forum time, but there was always great spirit and a mixture of new ideas.
It’s vital for democracy that those in power are challenged. This is not to say the current crop of local leaders has done a bad job, but there are no free rides in politics.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to jump onto the November ballot and share your ideas with voters. In small communities like ours, those who want to make a difference can. Here’s your chance.