The municipal election isn’t until Oct. 24, but incumbents and political newbies are already filing nomination papers in Sarnia, St. Clair Township and Point Edward.
That doesn’t surprise Steve Arnold, the veteran mayor of St. Clair, who has decided not to run again. Campaigning can’t begin until your nomination papers are filed, he noted.
“The right thing to do is file early. The sooner you declare, the sooner you can talk to people and start campaigning.”
It’s also important for incumbents, especially those in senior positions, to announce early if they’re not seeking re-election, he said.
Arnold, 66, is retiring from municipal politics after 37 years. He has been mayor of St. Clair Township since 2006, served as Lambton County warden, and said he’s proud of significant improvements in St. Clair, including new water lines, arena renovations, recycling, high speed internet, lobbying for 9-1-1, and welcoming new industry. He told his council in February he wasn’t running again to focus on his family.
“That was to give them a chance to think about if they are going to move up,” he said. “I will miss the people and the opportunity to keep moving the municipality forward. But it’s time to put my feet up, go fishing, and help my mom.”
At press time, three candidates were officially seeking the mayor’s job in St. Clair: Coun. Tracy Kingston, former councillor Jeff Agar, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2018, and newcomer Chad Shymko.
Deputy Mayor Steve Miller is running again for the same position.
Charles Mortley-Wood, Cathy Langis and current Coun. Pat Brown hope to be Ward 1 councillors. Ward 2 Coun. Bill Myers has also filed his papers early.
Heather Skolly is running for Central Lambton trustee at the Lambton Kent District School Board.
In Sarnia, no one has filed to run for mayor, and after 34 years at the helm, Mayor Mike Bradley has not divulged if he will seek re-election.
Three incumbents have declared for the four city/county seats on Sarnia council: Mike Stark, Margaret Bird and Bill Dennis.
Incumbent Coun. George Vandenberg and newcomer Chrissy McRoberts are seeking two of the four city council seats.
Incumbent trustees Jennifer McCann and Linda Ward are seeking re-election at the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, and Sylvie Barbeau-Chmielewski is campaigning again for trustee of the French separate school board.
In Point Edward, incumbent Mayor Bev Hand is running for a second term. And incumbent councillors Greg Grimes and Tim Mondoux have announced they hope to return to council.
The deadline for filing nomination papers is Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. Municipalities with populations larger than 4,000 require 25 signatures endorsing a nomination.