Former Edmonton city councillor and Liberal Member of Parliament Amarjeet Sohi said he is “serious considering” running for mayor in the upcoming fall election.
Sohi is no stranger to Edmontonians. He was first elected to city council in 2007 and sat on council until 2015 when he shifted into federal politics.
He served as the Liberal MP for Edmonton Mill Woods until 2019 when he lost his seat to Conservative Tim Uppal.
Prior to his work in politics, Sohi worked as a transit operator.
“I love Edmonton. I’ve lived here for 40 years. I’m invested in this city and I know we have been going through very difficult times over the last number of years, but during the last 14 months of living through COVID,” Sohi said in an interview with Global News on Thursday.
“When we come out of this pandemic we’re going to face significant challenges and opportunities — that’s why I’m seriously considering to put my name forward to be Edmonton’s next mayor,” he said.
“I came to this country with nothing. I came to Edmonton with nothing,” said Sohi, who immigrated to Canada under the family reunification program.
“This city has provided me with so many opportunities to make my life better, but also an ability to give back, to make the community a better place. So I think all of us — at least I see — that every one of us should have those kind of opportunities.”
Sohi said he’s spent the last few months talking with Edmontonians, trying to understand their perspectives and aspirations, as well as what they would like to see in their city moving forward.
“My leadership style from day one has been about building consensus, about building collaboration and really understanding issues from very diverse perspectives that, when we tackle them we have the comprehensive approach where together we move forward, not as individuals, but as a community,” he said.
“I am really touched by their generosity, I’m really touched by their support and encouragement and (it) really tells me how many people are committed to building a thriving community, building a thriving city.”
Current Mayor Don Iveson announced late last year he will not seek re-election. So far, nine people have officially filed paperwork to run to become Edmonton’s next mayor, including current councillor Mike Nickel and former councillors Kim Krushell and Michael Oshry.
Diana Steele, Cheryll Watson, Augustine Marah, Brian Gregg, Rick Comrie and Adbul Malik Chukwudi have also thrown their hats into the race.
Sohi said while he is very proud of the work he did in Ottawa, both as the minister of Natural Resources, and Infrastructure and Communities, he is ready to stay grounded in Edmonton.
“I really did not enjoy the lifestyle of it because it’s back and forth. I live here in my city and continued to live here during the time I was serving as MP and minister in Ottawa,” he said. “I want to continue to work hard. But at the end of the day, I want to come home to my family to be with them.”
Sohi did not set a timeline for when he would make a final decision.
Edmonton’s municipal election will be held on Monday, Oct. 18.