Some outgoing city servants are hoping to inspire you to consider running for Mayor, city council, or school board.
Mayor Irvine Ferris announced he would not seek re-election in October. He hopes we will see multiple good candidates come forward to run.
"I really do think that, when we have elections where there's acclamations, I don't know that we always get the best government from that," says Mayor Ferris. "It's important that people that are going to vote have a choice of candidates to vote for."
Mayor Ferris says information packages are available at City Hall for those interested in running. He says it's not just positive for the public to have races for each position. He adds, it's helpful to potential candidates, too.
Are you considering running for Council or School Trustee in the upcoming Municipal & School Board Election but want to learn more? Its all here - visit our website at https://t.co/IK9n3PngkC pic.twitter.com/XUOMJUeWrD— City of Portage (@CityofPortage) July 21, 2022
"Certainly, I think for people running, it probably sharpens the debate a bit on policies and what their platforms might look like," says Mayor Ferris. "It's good to get those discussions going on things that will impact our city and our educational system, in the case of school board, in the future."
As of now, only Sharilyn Knox, a current councillor, has entered the Mayoral race. Other councillors, Ryan Espey and Preston Meier, have not yet announced if they will seek re-election. Melissa Draycott moved away from Portage la Prairie, while Wayne Wall passed away earlier this year. Brent Budz has also announced he will be leaving municipal politics. This means there will be, at least, four new faces after the election.
Budz says, it's a great time to get involved in municipal politics.
"I think that it is a time in the city and in our region, where, I've said it before, we are in a generational growth mode. We have seen more investment in our community than we've seen in the last number of years, so, it's really an exciting time to begin with," says Budz. "I think that people quite often will say, what's in it for me, if I'm going to run for Council. I think it's really stepping back and saying, let's be part of something that contributes to the growth of our community."
He says potential candidates have some time to learn what goes into being a councillor.
"You have to educate yourself in terms of what's going on in municipal politics, obviously in provincial and even national politics, because there is quite a synergy between provincial government and federal government," says Budz. "But, really, just come to the table being open to new ideas, to new thought, be willing to participate as part of a team. (I would like to) encourage people to be part of municipal politics. It's the politics that is closest to the citizens. It's a real opportunity to contribute to your community."
The municipal election is set for October 26th.