Former Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Joe Preston ended weeks of speculation this morning (July 10) by announcing on the steps of city hall he has entered the St. Thomas mayoral race.
The move was inspired by “hundreds of people”, according to Preston, encouraging him to declare his intention to become head of the corporation.
“It got hard to ignore it,” added Preston, “and I didn’t start out to do it, but I had enough people come to me and say, ‘You should.’ I looked at all the decisions and said yes, good plan, let’s do it.”
So why the move to entice Preston to run for mayor? Are residents unhappy with the current situation or are other factors at play?
“I’m still community active. I’m involved in a lot of things around town and I guess they see there is an election and maybe they would like another choice.”
To date, Coun. Steve Wookey and local business promoter/musician Malichi Male have declared their intention to seek the mayor’s chain of office.
Mayor Heather Jackson has not yet tipped her hand but don’t be surprised if she announces she will, instead, seek to sit as a councillor.
Seems the Preston boosters want him to bypass a term as councillor and go for the brass ring.
“I had a couple of people talk about councillor, but most of them said mayor. I’ve been able to co-operatively get groups to work well together in the community, and I think mayor is the spot that fits me best.”
Today’s announcement – coupled with former MPP Steve Peters filing his nomination papers seeking one of eight councillor seats – sets up the unique possibility of two former members from two different parties at two different levels of government working together in the council chamber.
“And two former members from two different parties who used to work so well together and brought so much to St. Thomas because we buried our team uniforms at the door and actually got stuff done.
“Steve and I have had a couple of good conversations. I honestly went to my friend Steve with the question, should I or shouldn’t I. And he discussed why he was. I think it will be a lot of fun having friends like Steve on council, if I can be successful in the race.”
With Preston stepping back into the political spotlight, will that draw other high-profile individuals to announce thier intention to seek one of eight councillor positions available in the Oct. 22 municipal vote?
Watch for an extended interview with Preston later this week.
Questions and comments may be emailed to: City Scope
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