Halifax Mayor Mike Savage launches re-election campaign

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage has officially begun his campaign for the 2016 election, but with a possibly more low-key strategy.

With only one month to go until Halifax residents vote, Savage hopped on board Theodore Tugboat Tuesday to speak with approximately 30 supporters about his plans.

And one of those plans may be not posting campaign signs during the election.

Savage told the Chronicle Herald Tuesday he and his competitor, Lil MacPherson, have been considering not putting up signs during the election.

He said it’s something he has always wanted to do.

“There’s going to be all kinds of council signs on lawns and things like that,” said Savage.

“If we can run without polluting the landscape, then I would like to do that.”

Both campaigns are still deciding how to proceed, but MacPherson said a decision will come soon.

She said it’s a good idea because of the lack of waste produced, though she is cautious about one less opportunity to make her name known in the mayoral race.

“I think we need to be sensitive to the environment and sensitive to elections,” said MacPherson, founder and co-owner of the Wooden Monkey restaurant.

“It’s just an extra waste that we always do and there’s tons of them out there. But again there has to be a way for everybody to find out who’s running in their area.”

Public perception can also come into play when running a low-key campaign, said Margaret Brigley of Corporate Research Associates. CRA conducted a random telephone survey of 400 Halifax-area residents in July and August about their preferred choice for mayor. Eighty-five per cent said they would support Savage, while 15 per cent showed support for the small business owner.

Brigley said for Savage, a low-key campaign would not be a detriment.

“I wouldn’t suggest that right now it is a detriment only because of where he sits from a popularity perspective and overall satisfaction,” said Brigley.

“Perhaps it’s a gamble that he’s taking but one that he feels comfortable taking, given his state of public perception right now.”

Signs weren’t the only thing discussed at the campaign launch.

Going for his second term in office, Savage presented his Live, Belong, Thrive platform.

Some of the plans Savage said he has include encouraging council to continue its protection of Blue Mountain-Birch Cove, setting up a sports and event hosting committee, and leading an anti-poverty plan to provide community opportunities for more people.

Savage was also asked by reporters what would be fair compensation for businesses currently in a legal battle against the Nova Centre.

He said there’s many possibilities to mitigate the issues and is open to ideas, such as a variation of encroachment fees. An email to the Chronicle Herald by campaign communications chair Donna McCready said encroachment fees are already being collected from new construction. She wrote these fees could possibly be used to help with the impact construction has had on businesses.

Reporters also brought up campaign contributions, referencing how Savage campaigned in 2012.

During his first run for mayor, Savage put limits on donations to $5,000. He said restrictions would continue this year, but lowered the amount for possible contributions to only $2,500.

As in 2012, his list of donors will not be seen until after the election. Even though this choice drew criticism four years ago, Savage said a post-election release is allowed by law. Candidates must submit a list of contributions within 60 days of election day, according to the Nova Scotia Municipal Elections Act.

When deciding where to hold the campaign launch, Theodore Tugboat was chosen for two reasons, Savage said. The first was to showcase the progress and development on both sides of the harbour, while the second was to have some fun.

“I think the city’s ready for some fun ,” said Savage. “At the end of the day, having a bit of fun and highlighting where we are and the opportunity to go out to sea and not lose anybody so far is a good thing.”

Savage said if he wins he could run in one more election. After that, his presence in Halifax mayoral races would end.

“I have a term limit,” said Savage. “It’s not imposed by a bylaw, but by wife, that I will not be mayor for more than three terms. I can guarantee you that here today. I swear on the harbour.” 

Source : http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1396439-halifax-mayor-mike-savage-launches-re-election-campaign

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