If you think it’s a given that Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd will run for a third term, think again.
Shepherd says she has not decided if the will seek the job for another three years.
“Everybody has been asking me that lately,” said Shepherd, a long-time city councillor who defeated incumbent Walter Gray in the 2005 mayoral race and was easily re-elected in 2008.
Shepherd said normally she would wait until the early fall to make her decision but with the amount of interest being expressed, she will decide “sooner rather than later” this year.
But the 61-year-old Shepherd said she wants to discuss it with her family first, although she acknowledged that “I absolutely love what I do.”
The mayor is not the only councilor who is wrestling with the decision about whether or not to run again.
Coun. Andre Blanleil, first elected in 1993, said he is also undecided about running for another term as councillor, but he has ruled out a challenge for the mayor’s job.
“I definitely won’t be running for mayor,” he said yesterday.
Blanleil has, however, drawn support for a reelection bid from a surprising source.
Coun. Charlie Hodge, who Blanleil has often clashed with over the last three years at the council table, said he hopes Blanleil runs again. Hodge, who has yet to decide whether he will seek a second term, said Blanleil brings a much needed perspective to council.
“Sure we have clashed, but I really hope he runs again,” said Hodge.
As for the other incumbents, Couns. Kevin Craig, Graeme James and Angela Reid-Nagy, all in their first terms on council, each said they plan to seek re-election.
Couns. Michele Rule, Luke Stack and Robert Hobson could not be reached for comment prior to deadline on Thursday.
Shepherd said Kelowna will also likely host one of several Federation of Canadian Municipalities-sponsored forums aimed at increasing the number of women in Canadian politics, before the civic election.
Slated for Sept. 10 and 11, the forum is part of a drive to increase the proportion of women in Canada politics at all levels to 30 per cent.
“I’m very pleased Kelowna is being considered as a spot for this event,” said Shepherd, the city’s first female mayor. It will look to attract women considering a political run from throughout the Okanagan and in the Kootenays.