Art Stirling decides against running for mayor

Art Stirling, the budget chair for the municipality of Chatham-Kent.

By Greg Holden

Most people think about running for mayor at some point in their lives. It looks cushy from the outside, at worst you might catch a cold from kissing a baby. In the modern era you globe trot to China while establishing ties to people with no names because the competition might undercut your deal that never happens. Who wouldn’t want that job?

Art Stirling that’s who. In the most hotly anticipated political decision of the upcoming municipal election, Stirling decided to pass on running for mayor, telling the CKReview he had long considered his options and the timing wasn’t right for him or his family. Stirling has two young children and a daughter heading to University and the time demands of a mayoral campaign couldn’t be justified. “I spent months considering and discussing a run. Agonizing over it at times. I have had hundreds of people encourage me”, Stirling said. “To me, at the end of the day, I love my community and want to stay at the table.”

Stirling had support for his decision from most observers online. Disappointment accompanied some isolated criticism, but most commenters seemed to accept the verdict. Even the closest people to Stirling were unsure which way he would lean, remarking on his decision along with other constituents and pundits.

This leaves four names on the ballot for mayor. Jeff Bultje, Marjorie Crew, Reno Lachapelle and John C. Willatt. Mayor Randy Hope is expected to file his nomination papers soon.

Stirling opted to run again as councilor in Ward 2,where he has sat as a council member for the past eight years. He is heavily favoured to return in that capacity after the election on October 27.

Giving up on the thought of running for mayor doesn’t come easy. “In four years, things may be different”, said Stirling. For his supporters the date is already set.