BY ANDREW SMITH
LISTOWEL – Although the 2014 municipal election is over nine months away, two members of North Perth council have made early declarations to run.
Mayor Julie Behrns has declared her intention to seek re-lection come Oct. 27, saying that the decision came after a long time of thinking and discussions with her family.
“You have to review whether you’re effective at showing leadership,” she said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed being mayor, and I believe I still have something to offer in that capacity.”
Behrns was elected mayor in 2010, defeating former North Perth mayor Ed Hollinger 2,428 to 1,097 votes. Behrns said she took the early opportunity to put her name forward in the election to show her readiness to move forward.
“I think it’s important to not only let the people know, but let the councilors know what direction you’re taking,” Behrns said. “I think it instills confidence out there that I’m willing to continue and move forward with all of the groups we work with.”
Behrns said she has enjoyed the added responsibility of wearing the chain of office, and is looking forward to a second term to be involved in a number of projects in North Perth, such as the re-development of Highway 23 and 86, the new elementary school, and a new recreation complex in Listowel. Above all, Behrns hopes to continue providing efficiencies and fairness to North Perth ratepayers.
“They are the ones that work every day to assist in growing our municipality,” Behrns said.
The promotion of North Perth as a regional service hub will also remain a priority, which Behrns said has been key to the success of the municipality.
“There are many people coming to our community each and every day,” she said. “Having the services they are looking for certainly builds a prosperous North Perth.”
Coun. Doug Kellum has also thrown his hat into the ring, declaring his intention to seek the deputy mayor’s chair. Kellum said the decision came after a year of serious consideration, along with the support of his family and employer.
“I wanted to take my political career to the next level, and I think I’m prepared for it,” Kellum said. “I want to send a message that I want to be focused and I want to be prepared for the election.”
Kellum is currently in his second term as a councilor for Listowel ward, and said his goal as a member of council has been to make North Perth a better place to raise a family, as well as provide modern facilities and amenities to keep them here and attract new residents.
“I’m seeing it more and more every day,” he said. “A lot of these kids have gone to college and they’re moving back to North Perth, which is great.”
If elected, Kellum said a term as deputy mayor would provide him the opportunity to see if there is desire to move his political career further.
“Right now I’m at a standstill with council,” he said. “I’m getting lots out of it, but if I want to move on to make a real strong political career, it’s time to move up to deputy mayor.”
Incumbent Deputy Mayor Vince Judge says he has made no commitment to the 2014 election yet, and he’s not concerned with making any declaration at this time.
“I think it’s too early in the process,” Judge said. “We still have a year’s work to do.”