The municipal election is still nine months away, but the buzz about who will vie for the mayor’s seat has begun.
So far, we know Rick Chrest is in and Stephen Montague is out.
One name that has been circulating in the community is Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell.
“There’s certainly a lot of people that have been talking to me about (running), but … today it’s about Rick,” he said in a telephone call from Ottawa. “We do have now in Brandon an incumbent mayor and a former city councillor that are contesting for this. I think that’s good for democracy.”
Caldwell wouldn’t say if he is considering a run for mayor, only that he’s not “closing any doors.”
“This is interesting because … the speculation around me running for mayor has all been generated in the public domain,” he said. “It hasn’t been generated by myself, it’s been generated by people speculating on my candidacy and I’m flattered by that.”
Caldwell said he is still focused on the job at hand as a provincial MLA.
“There’s a lot of work remaining to be done on a great many files in Brandon that I’ve actively been working on,” he said.
Assiniboine Community College’s move to the North Hill is an outstanding file that Caldwell says still requires a considerable amount of work.
Meanwhile, Mayor Shari Decter Hirst won’t say if she is planning to put her name forward for re-election.
“I think that the people in Brandon want us to focus on the job that we were elected to do in 2010 and to keep politics out of it for as long as possible,” she said.
Decter Hirst said council will be working hard at finishing up projects that have been started in the last four years and ensuring that council continues to operate in a “non-politicized environment.”
Decter Hirst said she is committed to getting through the budget, which will be finalized in the spring.
“We’ve got an election window … a six-month campaign period which is more than adequate to get the job done, if at the end of the day I put my name forward.”