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With no incumbent running, it’s an open, 4-way race for mayor in Vernon

Click to play video: 'Four in the running to become mayor of Vernon' Four in the running to become mayor of Vernon
Watch Above: Vernon mayoral candidates weigh in on their election priorities and housing in Vernon. – Oct 16, 2018

Vernon will soon have a new mayor.

The north Okanagan city’s current leader, Akbal Mund, decided to run for a city council seat rather than seek re-election to the mayor’s chair.

It’s a four-way race to replace Mund, with regional economist Victor Cumming, painter Art Gourley, political enthusiast Erik Olesen and licensed counsellor Darrin Taylor all vying to take on the role.

READ MORE: B.C. municipal election 2018: Vernon results

Here is a more in-depth look at each of the candidates (in alphabetical order):

Victor Cumming

Victor Cumming is making another bid for the mayor’s seat. Cumming lost to Akbal Mund in the last civic election by 625 votes.

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Cumming is a regional economist who owns West Coast CED Consulting Ltd. and his lived in Vernon since the early 1990s.

“I think there is a significant difference between myself and other candidates and I think it comes from my 35 years of experience. I’ve done a lot of work with governments and I do know processes and I come from a strong background of both economic and community participation,” he said.

Watch Below: Vernon Mayoral Candidate Victor Cumming shares his vision for the future of Vernon.
Click to play video: 'Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Victor Cumming' Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Victor Cumming
Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Victor Cumming – Oct 16, 2018

Art Gourley

Professional painter Art Gourley has been a frequent visitor to city hall.

Now in his 70s, the senior is still painting professionally. His work experience has been diverse, including stints working at sawmills, as a professional driver, and painting for BC Ferries.

Watch Below: Vernon Mayoral Candidate Art Gourley gives his perspective what he would do differently if he’s elected to city hall.
Click to play video: 'Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Art Gourley' Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Art Gourley
Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Art Gourley – Oct 16, 2018

Erik Olesen

Erik Olesen is passionate about politics.

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The 27-year-old said he’s been involved in politics for over a decade, including an unsuccessful bid to become the MLA in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding in 2017.

In that race, Olesen, the NDP candidate, lost out to Liberal Norm Letnick.

“I’ve been in politics for probably about 13-14 years now. [It’s] something I really love to do, I have a big interest for, and at my age, I think that’s a good thing to have. Things are changing and we need to be able to be leaders in our communities,” Olesen said.
Olesen said he has managed businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors for the last decade, and “over my time there, I learned how to do budgets, manage staff [and] build teams.”
Watch Below: Vernon Mayoral Candidate Erik Olesen gives his perspective on the biggest challenges facing Vernon.
Click to play video: 'Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Erik Olesen' Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Erik Olesen
Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Erik Olesen – Oct 16, 2018

Darrin Taylor

Long-time Vernon resident Darrin Taylor has been in the news recently for his work heading up the city’s Activate Safety Task Force.

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The city set up the task force to make recommendations on the issues of “homelessness, criminal behavior, addictions, public safety and the impact on the business community.”

READ MORE: Safety task force makes 40 recommendations to Vernon city council

Taylor, a father of two, is a licensed counsellor who owns Axis Intervention Services.

“I’ve been active with the chamber of commerce recently, been on the board of directors there. I’m also active with my professional organization’s chairing committees and serving on boards,” Taylor said.

Vernon Mayoral Candidate Darrin Taylor describes how he wants to change the role of mayor in Vernon.
Click to play video: 'Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Darrin Taylor' Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Darrin Taylor
Vernon Mayoral Candidate Profiles: Darrin Taylor – Oct 16, 2018

The civic election will be held on Oct. 20. More information about voting in Vernon can be found here.

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