Election signs are beginning to pop up as New Brunswick is officially in municipal election mode.
Nominations for May municipal elections closed Friday and in about a month, voters will head to the polls to elect mayors and councils along with District Education Councils and Regional Health Authorities.
Municipal politics in Saint John has always been a popular talking point, maybe even more-so so this year as there are five candidates vying for the mayor’s job. By comparison, the cities of Fredericton and Moncton each have two people seeking the mayor’s chair.
Current Saint John Mayor Mel Norton is not seeking for a second term.
Bill Farren is one of two sitting councilors looking to move up. He says many wanted him to try to stay on as a councilor.
“I appreciate that and listened to it but I think to make sure that the tax rate stays where it‘s at and the property taxes don’t raise, I have to be at the head of the horseshoe,“ Farren said.
The city’s deputy mayor, Shelley Rinehart, is also seeking the top job and is happy about the size of the field.
“It shows huge interest in our community and I think that’s a really good sign for saint john.“, she said. “We really do need to change the conversation”.
The Saint John ballot will include two political newcomers. Don Darling isn;t concerned about the number of candidates running.
“I‘m not thinking about the other candidates frankly,” Darling said. “ I’m out as you can see today and I’m meeting as many Saint Johners as I can to share my vision about growth.”
Howard Yeomans is also seeking political office for the first time.
“(I’ve) been here all my life and I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly in this city,” Yeomans said. “I figure I’ve got the type of business background...the things that I think a mayor needs in order to coordinate the people of this city in order to grow.“
Former councilor Patty Higgins is also in the race but Global News was unable to speak with her.
With a crowded ballot for mayor some, like Saint John resident John Crozier, think that might make it more difficult to make a decision.
“Why are there so many dead squirrels on the road?” Crozier asked. “Because they weren‘t sure which way they were going to go when they got in the middle and got ran over because of the indecisiveness”
Voting day is May 9th.