Leader Post article – October 12, 2012
Mayoral candidate profile: Jim Elliott
By Vanessa Brown, Leader-Post October 12, 2012
Jim Elliott could talk for hours about issues plaguing City Hall if you let him. But rarely will you catch him raising his voice or hurling political barbs at his competitors in the race for mayor.
“I’m not one for splash politics,” Elliott explains during a recent interview. “I’m more, ‘Let’s work it out. Let’s solve the problems.'”
Elliott, 57, hopes Reginans will choose him to help solve the city’s problems as mayor for the next four years.
He is one of nine candidates running in what some are calling the most competitive mayor’s race in 12 years.
An environmental consultant and longtime Regina resident, Elliott has been here before. He first ran for mayor three years ago and was easily beaten by Mayor Pat Fiacco. Elliott has also run, unsuccessfully, for Ward 6 councillor and in past provincial campaigns.
This time around, his decision to file nomination papers was cemented on Valentine’s Day. On the morning of Feb. 14, Fiacco announced he would not seek a fifth term.
Elliott is relying on his long history of volunteerism and community activism to make the case he deserves to be Regina’s next mayor.
He has volunteered with the Regina Folk Festival for more than 30 years, previously sat on the Central Zone Board, which provides programming to area residents, for nearly 15 years and for the past eight years has been involved with the Al Ritchie Community Association in the city’s core.
He has also been active on city council advisory committees, particularly in the areas of the environment and transit.
“Internally, I’ve got a good understanding of what’s happening (at City Hall),” Elliott says.
“I follow council and committee meetings fairly vigorously … That knowledge, I think, is strong.”
His volunteer work seems to guide his platform policies, which focus on seemingly small changes that Elliott believes will better Reginans’ lives.
As a member of the Regina Citizens Public Transit Coalition, Elliott has been pushing for an overall expanded bus system, and in particular, doubling para-transit service.
“To think that (people with disabilities are) stuck in their house and … to not have a sense of being able to do what you want to do … To me that’s almost inhumane in the extreme sense,” he argues.
“But even just a sense of fulfilling what you want to do in your life, you need some basic amenities to do that.”
He would like to see more shelter spaces for the homeless and boosted social housing units.
He suggests building laneway apartments both downtown and near the University of Regina, which he says would incent homeowners to convert their garages into suites and would limit the city’s carbon footprint.
“I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of what the community’s needs are,” he explains.
Joanne Havelock, chair of Friends of Regina Public Library, has worked with Elliott on community advocacy initiatives for about 30 years. She recently spoke of his work ethic and commitment to advancing community causes.
“He’s the type of person that gets involved with an issue and stays with it consistently,” Havelock says, citing his work since 2004 when Friends of Regina Public Library first formed and tried to save branches from closing. “He doesn’t give up.”
The mayoral candidate’s Top Three Issues
. I would set up the Regina Housing Commission, implement the Task Force on Housing Report (2000) and have rental housing as my personal top priority.
. I would work to double paratransit and expand transit service, put more bike lanes on streets and have all sidewalks clear of snow.
. I would work to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to participate in the future of this city.
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