Leonard Krog, newly announced candidate for Nanaimo mayor, delivered a show of support from across the political spectrum.
At an event Wednesday at the Coast Bastion Hotel, Krog, who is Nanaimo MLA, officially announced his intention to run for mayor in the fall civic election. With former politicians of various stripes in the room, including three former mayors, Krog said, “I am not running for a party. I am running for the people of Nanaimo.”
He told the standing-room-only crowd that his campaign slogan is ‘bringing people together for change.’ He said he’s running because so many people asked him to do so, both those who have supported his NDP politics and those who have voted against him for years.
“It’s about those things that we do agree upon,” Krog said. “We agree on good governance. We agree on integrity in public life. We agree on a community that is safe and secure for all of us. We agree on a future that is bright and it’s a future we’re going to build together.”
He was asked about the damage caused by some of the dysfunction at city hall the last few years and said trust is built by acting in a trustworthy way.
“The reason these people are out here tonight, people who have worked against me in political campaigns, is because they believe I’m trustworthy and they believe that I can bring together a team of people to restore and rebuild and move forward and build this city,” he said.
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Krog said Premier John Horgan was very surprised to learn the longtime MLA’s decision; “It’s something I discussed with friends and family and my wife, in particular,” Krog said, adding that Horgan tried to convince the caucus chairman to remain in legislature. “I didn’t go to the premier to bargain, to negotiate. I went to the premier to tell him the decision I had arrived at and I was firm in that decision.”
Krog believes Nanaimo is a safe NDP riding, said Horgan is the most popular party leader and thinks the party would win any byelection.
“I know the media is speculating about the fall of the government and the Chicken Littles are all running around; I get that. I get that,” Krog said. “Hang onto your hats, folks. We’re not going to see a change in government. Not in Victoria. But you’re going to see a change in government here in Nanaimo.”
At Krog’s announcement Wednesday, he was introduced by Michelle Corfield, chairwoman of the Nanaimo Port Authority, and Tony Harris of Harris Auto Group.
Harris said Krog is charismatic, thoughtful and leads by example by showing respect for others.
“This leadership style is what Nanaimo needs,” Harris said. “We need to stabilize the ship, bring people together, put our differences aside, consider the needs of our entire community, build a team and get to work.”
Don Hubbard, who is also running for mayor, said in a statement that Krog would be his second choice for mayor.
“The taxpayers now have a choice between a good politician or a guy that has run huge organizations and has the ability to get things done,” Hubbard said.
Fred Pattje, former city councillor and spokesman for Our Nanaimo, said the council watchdog group doesn’t endorse candidates, but said personally he’s been hoping for a long time that Krog would run.
“It bodes well for not only getting people out to run in the election, but also to achieve something that we so desperately need, and that is a council that is civil, collegial and can work with each other,” Pattje said.