Would she or wouldn’t she? The question over whether Mayor Sharon Gaetz would seek re-election in the fall finally has an answer.
Gaetz says there’s still work to be done as she announced Wednesday she will indeed run on Oct. 20.
“I am grateful to the people in our community who believe in a strong and vibrant city and continue to elect me to lead the way” Gaetz said in a statement issued on Aug. 29.
Ending months of speculation, Gaetz said the next four years promise to be “exciting and challenging” and she wants to be a part of it.
She described herself as a “fiscal conservative with a strong social conscience.”
That balance has enabled Chilliwack to remain debt free, while maintaining a low tax rate and a high standard of living.
“I believe in planning ahead and our 10-year Comprehensive Municipal Plan has ensured that we enjoy first class amenities while maintaining the lowest residential and business taxes in the Lower Mainland,” Gaetz said.
“This is not the time to rest on our laurels. We must continue to actively seek out industry to achieve successes such as Molsons and Berryhill Foods, which ensure jobs for our citizens and provide them with an excellent quality of life.”
Gaetz joins incumbent city councillors Ken Popove and Sam Waddington who have already announced their intentions to run for mayor.
The three-time mayor, and the first woman in the role in the history of Chilliwack, is up against her first real challenge for the seat. In 2008, Gaetz handily defeated realtor and first-time candidate Wayne Massey for the job. In 2011 she was acclaimed to the position, then in 2014, she defeated downtown business owner, and another first-time candidate, Cameron Hull by 10,183 votes to 2,731.
This time she is up against incumbent city councillors who received the highest (Waddington) and third highest (Popove) number of votes for council seats in 2014.
There may be at least five people running for mayor on Oct. 20, as Dave Rowan, owner of Dave’s Towing, announced he’ll seek the top job, as did Brigida Crosbie who ran for council in 2014 and finished 15th out of 17.