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Field of candidates for Calgary mayor grows to 14 with addition of Jan Damery

Calgary mayor-hopeful Jan Damery announces her campaign in front of cSpace King Edward on May 4, 2021. Global News

The race to be Calgary’s next mayor is becoming a crowded field.

On Tuesday morning, Jan Damery announced her campaign in front of the cSpace King Edward building.

“I’m about local economy and this is something that I have really learned in the last year, how important my neighbourhood and the businesses in my neighbourhood are,” Damery said.

Damery made the decision to run after Christmas and has built a team of 40 to help with her campaign.

Read more: ‘A difficult decision’: Naheed Nenshi not seeking fourth term as Calgary mayor

An economist by training, Damery worked for a decade with TransCanada Pipelines (now TC Energy) before moving to the non-profit sector with the United Way and YWCA Calgary. She counts raising funds for the YW Hub in Inglewood as an achievement in her non-profit career.

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Damery pointed to the need to start construction on the Green Line infrastructure megaproject.

“We need executive oversight to drive that project, a critical piece of infrastructure to connect our communities and provide access to transportation for all Calgarians.”

Read more: Women underrepresented on Calgary city council; 18 seek council and mayor seats in 2021

Damery also says she has the executive leadership skills to lead city council.

“A lot of people think that the mayor is a CEO of the city and it is not,” she said. “We actually have the city manager for that. I think it is more of a board chair — it’s about building coalition.

“It’s about leading by influence, and I’ve learned to do that all my career both locally and internationally. I’ve been able to do deals, I’ve managed large multi-million dollar budgets.”

The former president of TransCanada Hot Taps called the energy sector “fundamental” in the city’s economy.

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“It now becomes the foundation of this economy, but I don’t believe it’s the growth engine,” Damery said. “We don’t talk about the ag sector and there is an amazing burgeoning tech sector coming in that’s going to really diversify.”

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The former YWCA Calgary VP holds views about downtown renewal that are largely in line with the city’s Greater Downtown Plan, emphasizing the importance of the local economy for downtown rejuvenation.

“Downtown needs to be a place where people live. That’s actually what’s going to drive it 24/7. And that will also bring back the streetscape and the businesses.”

She also said reducing or eliminating barriers in the local economy will be key to the city’s recovery and prevention of a so-called K-shaped recovery.

Read more: Ward Sutherland now 6th Calgary city councillor running for re-election

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Damery becomes the 14th candidate to be registered with Elections Calgary.

One-term councillors Jeromy Farkas and Jyoti Gondek are both hoping to replace Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who will not be seeking re-election in October.

Local business owner Brad Field and former Kerby Centre president Zane Novak hope to draw votes with their bona fides.

Novak released his five-part platform Tuesday afternoon, including themes of dynamic leadership, accountability, being business-friendly, bringing vibrancy and “enriching lives.”

He claims a strength of getting buy-in from a diverse group of stakeholders during a “very difficult situation.”

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“But you can’t do that if you’ve got a large ego and if you’re not going to listen and respect people,” Novak told reporters.

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He said he supports large infrastructure projects like the Green Line, but disagrees with the current configuration, saying current downtown occupancy rates should be considered.

“If anybody thinks that downtown Calgary is going to go to 105 per cent occupancy like it was years ago in the near future, I think that they’re mistaken,” Novak said.

“I don’t think that that’s achievable.”

Social conservative Larry Heather and far-right social media personality Kevin J. Johnston have submitted their nomination papers, with signatures and registration fee, to Calgary Elections.

Read more: Elections Calgary monitoring coronavirus pandemic, ready to adjust plans for October election

Ian Chiang, Zac Hartley, Dean Hopkins, Teddy Ogbonna, Sunny Singh, Shaoli Wang and Grace Yan round out the field running for mayor.

According to Elections Calgary, there are 60 councillor candidates running in the 14 wards. Six councillors in wards 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 have announced they will be retiring from city council this year. Only Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca has not announced his intention for the municipal election.

Calgarians cast their ballots on Oct. 18.

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