And then there were three.
Julius Bloomfield announced Thursday his candidacy to run for the position of Penticton mayor this fall in front of a spattering of supporters on the steps of City Hall.
He told the crowd that he had grown “increasingly frustrated” with the lack of direction in the city.
“In witnessing what has been happening to the city, I have formed my own vision of what Penticton could be under the right leadership,” he said, adding several people urged him to run.
“During this campaign, and my tenure as mayor, I will be talking to as many Pentictonites as possible and sharing our vision. Together we can bring about the change Penticton needs to meet its potential.”
He said his platform will be based on three key issues: innovative job creation, sound fiscal management and building a healthy and vibrant community.
“We have to get more innovative in ways of attracting jobs to the city,” he said, adding the focus shouldn’t be on bringing outside companies into town. “We don’t want to give that up, but we have to find other ways of building the job base here. Growing from within is an important part of my platform on the job scene.”
This may be the veteran realtor’s first run to represent the city, but Bloomfield is no stranger to politics. He was named deputy leader of the Green Party of B.C. in 2009, garnering 3,446 local votes to finish third in the provincial election. He said Thursday he would be resigning as deputy leader, but would maintain his provincial party membership.
“I haven’t stopped being Green, but I’m pragmatic, I’m realistic and I recognize the needs of the community at large, and not just one special focus group,” he said, stressing he is equally socially minded and fiscally conservative. “I believe in sound fiscal management.
“The city needs to pay down its debt. It has a huge debt, and we have to pay that down as quickly as possible while interest rates are low. We have to do it while we can afford to do it, rather than paint ourselves in a corner. If we don’t pay down that debt now, we’re going to be in trouble in years to come.”
Bloomfield said he didn’t feel his status as a Naramata resident would impact his chances, considering he has “started businesses, run businesses successfully” in Penticton.
“If we take out the people running in the election who don’t live in the city, then it’s going to be a very small competition,” he said, alluding to the fact Mayor Dan Ashton resides in Summerland. “I’ve brought a lot to the city, I think, and the city has brought a lot to me. My kids went to school here, and this is where we spend our money. We are part of Penticton as much as anybody else who lives here.”
Bloomfield is the third candidate to officially declare intentions to challenge Ashton. Katie Robinson, a former councillor and current wine marketing consultant, announced over the summer her desire to seek the mayoralty, following on the heels of Benny Wolfe.
Ashton has not officially announced that he intends to seek re-election, although indications were given last winter that he would allow his name to stand.
The deadline for nominations to be filed is Oct. 14.