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Contenders sizing up Penticton mayor's chair
If Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton is successful in his bid to move to provincial politics next May, there are likely to be some familiar names lining up to replace him.
Former city councillor Katie Robinson, who ran for mayor in the 2011 municipal election, has said that she is interested in running for the top spot in the city. She joins Coun. Gary Litke who has already said he was interested, as has Julius Bloomfield, who also ran against Ashton in the last municipal election.
“I am looking at council, whether or not I run for mayor, I will cross that bridge when I come to it,” said Robinson, who last served as a councillor in 1999. There is also the possibility, she explained, of a further byelection should Litke, or another councillor, run for mayor and win.
“I think there is a good chance if there is a byelection there are some councillors that are already in seats, so it may turn into more than a mayoral election,” she said. “I kind of thought I would bide my time and see what happens.”
Litke, now in his third term as a councillor, topped the polls during the last municipal election. That, he said, was one of the key factors that already had him considering a run for mayor.
“That sort of gave me pause. I guess I must be doing something right, people are liking some of the things I am doing … next time, I think I will step up,” said Litke. “Already after the last election I was thinking about next time. I didn’t think next time would be so fast.”
Likewise, Bloomfield’s strong performance during the last election has him convinced to try again after finishing only 147 votes behind Ashton, the incumbent mayor, in a strong field of mayoral candidates.
“If there is a byelection, it is my intention to run again,” said Bloomfield. “It was close, so that is enough to make me run again.”
Bloomfield, former deputy leader of the B.C. Green Party, said he has decided to focus solely on municipal politics.
“Lots of people have asked me to run for all the different parties. I turned them all down,” said Bloomfield, who said that like many successful businessmen, he is looking for a challenge and an opportunity to contribute something meaningful to the community.
“There is so much potential here that is not being realized,” he said. “There are some really great things that have happened but there are a lot of other great things that could happen.”
All three possible mayoral candidates are cautious, with Litke, especially, stressing that the potential of his running for mayor is only “if” Ashton wins the riding in the next provincial election.