The race is on!  With nominations for the upcoming municipal elections closing last Friday, there appear to be a number of individuals that have put their names forward to serve.  Whether it is for the Mayor’s chair, municipal councils or school boards in the various municipalities within our district, many individuals have decided that they have what it takes to run.  Congratulations to each and everyone of the incumbents that have decided to stay on and for the new comers into the world of politics, congratulations as well and good luck.

Over the next three months, in the lead up to the election, we as taxpayers will see and hear why each candidate deserves our support.  As of the close of nominations, some municipalities and Boards have seen acclamations but for the balance, we will be seeing candidates in full election mode until October.  For the next three months, taxpayers will be sorting through a constant barrage of information on each candidate and will hopefully make educated and informed choices on the people that will represent them for the next four years.

It will be very important that as with every election, that the voters get out and exercise their right to vote.  Traditionally, the turnout by the voting public has been under 50% of the registered voters.  For whatever reasons people have, some choose not to vote and those that don’t should not complain about their elected officials.  The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce encourages every one of its members, their employees and families to make sure that they are registered to vote and that they get out to vote on Election Day.

As stated in an earlier column, the Chamber will be surveying its members, the business community, on their concerns and priorities for the next term of elected officials.  We will use that information to compile a list of questions for each candidate and provide that information to our members and the public to help them in making informed choices.  Those choices may only end up being one or two candidates and voters can exercise that right to only vote for one or two of the candidates.  It is not mandatory to vote for the number of positions available.

In North Bay, it will be interesting to watch what individuals and or groups of individuals bring forward as their main issues.  In many of the initial press releases declaring their candidacies, the words accountability and transparency have appeared many times and also appears to mean many different things to many different people.  Make sure you ask the incumbents, if for the past four years that they have been open and transparent and for the new candidates, what they actually think those statements or words mean.  My experience tells me, that the answers from the two groups might be polar opposites.

The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce will be asking the candidates how they are going to change the conversation in their communities and the bigger question “How might we?” rather than all the reason why not.  More to come on this subject.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce.