The worst-kept secret in Lloydminster is now out.
First-term city Councillor Jason Whiting has declared his intentions to run for the mayoral seat in the upcoming municipal election, making the announcement to a gathering of invited city residents at Lakeland College on Monday night.
Whiting was introduced by Shane Schneider, a local financial advisor in the Border City, who expressed his support for Whiting’s run during the short introduction. Once Whiting was at the microphone, he addressed the room, outlining his general outlook on what he would want to do as mayor. Following the playing of Whiting’s campaign video, outgoing council member Linnea Goodhand spoke in support of Whiting’s bid.
“The fact is the campaigns starting, and if you’re going to support somebody you’ve got to get behind them,” said Goodhand, after the address.
“This is absolutely what I want to do for Jason, and I’m here tonight to do it.”
Outgoing council member Chris McQuid was also present in support of Whiting, manning a table at the back of the Lakeland cafeteria for volunteers to sign up for the campaign.
Speaking to the press, Whiting said the idea to run for mayor had been in mind for the past several months, and that it felt like the right time to launch a bid.
“I feel like my term on council has given me the experiences necessary to take the next step,” said Whiting.
“I find myself wanting to do more. The full time job that I have will cease at some point, and I will dive into this headfirst. I’m really looking forward to doing as much as I can in this role.”
Whiting also outlined more details about what direction he would take Lloydminster, if he ended up in the mayor’s chair.
“I think we can do a little bit better job at leading effectively, by building better relationships, holding our administration to account, and being fiscally responsible,” said Whiting.
“I want to ensure that there was is a longer-term financial plan, I want to ensure that we are transparent as possible, even more so, I want to ensure that people have the ability to get the information that we need with the new financial accounting system that’s coming out, revamp how people access information through our website, so there is a variety of things that I’ll be investigating if the opportunity is presented to myself.”
Whiting also said he would be in favour of posting the accounts payable documents of the city government online on a regular basis, if the system allowed the documents to be posted in an “efficient and appropriate” manner.
As for how Whiting plans to proceed with the campaign itself, he indicated that a move to ramp up the social media presence of the campaign would be taken, and also drew attention to the launch of the campaign website, leadinglloydminster.ca. In the non-online world, he also planned to have “more and more conversations”.
“I’ve had many leading up to today, and I plan on having many more leading up to October 26 (voting day), which is also my birthday, by the way,” said Whiting.
Whiting said he wanted to hear from all demographics in the city, and also said he believes his engagement with the community will help with his campaign.
“I think the support shown here gives me good insight that I have good chances,” said Whiting.
“My discussions around the community have led me to this day, and I feel the support is there for this, otherwise I wouldn’t be running.”
An official announcement from sitting Lloydminster mayor Rob Saunders on whether or not he plans to run again has not yet been made. However, Whiting did say he had discussed the idea with the mayor.
“We’ve had a discussion, and he was supportive, very professional in all that we talked about,” said Whiting.
“There hasn’t been an official announcement yet, we’ll wait to see his intentions.”
An official list of confirmed candidates in the race will be issued on September 22.