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Keanin Loomis promises change at Hamilton city hall as part of mayoral campaign platform

Mayoral candidate Keanin Loomis has released his campaign platform and is highlighting a need for change at Hamilton city hall. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

‘Change’ is the main theme of Hamilton mayoral candidate Keanin Loomis’ campaign platform.

The former head of the city’s chamber of commerce has released the details of his plans if he’s elected mayor in October, saying the Hamiltonians he’s spoken with since announcing his candidacy have expressed a desire for new faces in local government.

“What is wanted and needed more than ever before is real change,” he said during his campaign announcement at Merit Brewing on James Street North.

“The kind of change that makes a difference in the lives of all Hamiltonians. Real change that will bring fresh ideas and a new vision for our future city, and change that brings real leadership to city hall instead of from worn-out and recycled politicians who can’t help but run again and again.”

Read more: Restoring accountability at Hamilton city hall among Bob Bratina’s mayoral campaign pledges

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If elected, Loomis said he’d hold town hall discussions in each ward throughout the year and is also interested in holding council meetings in different places across the city.

He also said he’d open up the mayor’s office to residents, saying he’s heard that people don’t feel the city is listening to what they’re saying.

“It is the people’s building, city hall, and the mayor’s office should be available for everybody to be able to access. So we’re going to do that a half day each and every week,” Loomis said.

He addressed the conduct issues that have plagued Hamilton city council and said he will establish a ‘culture of collaboration’ around the horseshoe by reading a “mayor’s statement of respect” before each meeting, mandating anti-racism and equity, diversity and inclusion training for councillors and staff, having councillors pledge to act respectfully and collaboratively, and develop a ‘zero tolerance’ rule for bullying, abusive language and disrespectful behaviour.

“With seven new faces — at least — around the council table, we have an incredible opportunity, unlike anything that’s ever happened here in Hamilton’s history, to make sure that the tone is set right from the onset,” he said.

Read more: Former Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath running for mayor of Hamilton

Loomis is also pledging to create 5,000 new jobs over five years by investing $1 million in the planning and economic development department to address ‘bottlenecks’ that have stifled growth.

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“We’re going to work with folks at the harbourfront through the port authority, the folks at the airport, folks in the business parks as well, and then, of course, McMaster Innovation Park to build out their plans for those areas of the city. There are so many plans that are really, really exciting. What they need is that new, fresh leadership at City Hall to get these things going.”

Loomis’ speech also mentioned building a stronger relationship with Hamilton’s Indigenous community, giving students and seniors’ issues more attention, and creating a task force made up of community members to address the homelessness crisis in the city.

That includes finding a plot of land for a local initiative to build tiny homes for homeless residents.

“These are built, they just need to find a location. Who is one of the biggest property owners in the city of Hamilton? Well, the city of Hamilton. So that should be a pretty easy thing to do.”

Read more: City of Hamilton sets dates for vote by mail, advance polls ahead of municipal election

There are nine candidates running to become the next mayor of Hamilton in October.

Former Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced her intentions to run for mayor at the end of July, while former Liberal MP and former mayor Bob Bratina revealed his plans to run for the top job at city hall in March.

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Bratina has released some details of his platform, including a pledge to restore accountability at city hall and promising to ensure 30 per cent of new and refurbished housing along the LRT corridor is affordable.

Horwath has yet to reveal her platform but has announced that she will be sharing her ‘action plan’ for Hamilton at a press conference on Mountain Park Avenue on Monday morning.

The other mayoral candidates are Ejaz Butt, Paul Fromm, Jim Davis, Solomon Ikhuiwu, Hermiz Ishaya, and Michael Pattison.

Hamiltonians will go to the polls on Oct. 24 but can also vote by mail, provided they register to receive a municipal election voting package by Sept. 22.

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