It’s been an interesting municipal election cycle so far.
One thing that’s for certain is that there’s going to be a lot of new faces in municipal politics once the ballots are counted.
In some years there have been a lot of acclamations, and a lot of people seeking re-election. Not this time around. The fact that huge lists of candidates and little preparation by those who turn out to vote often means that name recognition is key for hopefuls, and thus those already in office have a considerable advantage at the polls. Add to that the traditionally low number of people who even turn out to vote in the first place, and incumbents are tough to unseat.
But in North Cowichan, with two sitting councillors challenging the mayor for his seat, and two other councillors not seeking re-election, there are at least four seats truly up for grabs.
In Duncan there’s a similar dearth of current councillors looking to get their seats back, with two running for mayor, and two others not seeking re-election.
Look for those races to be exciting. My advice to candidates? Get out and do as much door-knocking as you can. The most successful candidates in the past have put in the shoe leather and made sure to put a face to the name for those looking to vote. It’s never a bad idea to actually talk to the constituents you hope to represent, either.
In the Cowichan Valley Regional District all but two of the nine electoral areas will have races. Only newcomer Blaise Salmon in Mill/Bay Malahat (Area A) and Ian Morrison in Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls (Area F) have been acclaimed. Hot races to follow will be Saltair/Gulf Islands (Area G) where four candidates are vying for Mel Dorey’s seat (he is not running again), and the always vocal constituency of Cobble Hill (Area C) who will decide between three candidates, including the incumbent.
Areas E and H also have multiple challengers to the sitting directors.
In comparison, the school district will provide a less interesting race on election night, with only eight candidates running for seven spots. There will be only one odd man out, and six of those on the ballot are on the board now.
My larger point is, if you want to see change, this election might be your best chance — if you get out and vote. I know I will be.