Marianne Alto announces intention to run for mayor of Victoria

Marianne Alto announces intention to run for mayor of Victoria
Marianne Alto has announced she intends to run for mayor in the upcoming municipal election. (CHEK News)

Victoria councillor Marianne Alto has announced she intends to run for the mayor of Victoria in the upcoming municipal election.

Alto has been a councillor since 2010 when she was first elected in a byelection.

“For some time now, a broad range of Victorians have asked me to consider running for Mayor,” Alto said.

“I have been listening carefully, reflecting on their advice and concerns while concentrating on the demands of the day doing my job as a councillor. Now, it’s time to commit to those residents and announce today that I am going to take their advice and run for Mayor in the upcoming municipal election.”

She graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1988, and has worked as the principal of Azimuth Research and Consulting since 1996.

“Victoria has passed the threshold of a ‘big town’ and is evolving into a thriving city with complex, urban challenges,” Alto said.

“Meeting those challenges requires balance, leadership, experience, and the courage to make tough decisions. I make sure I am well-informed and well-prepared, as only then is it possible to listen actively with objectivity and bring opposing interests together to find solutions.”

Alto says her priorities if elected as mayor include ensuring everyone in Victoria has a home, creating healthy safe spaces for residents to stay active and engaged, do more towards climate action, work with Indigenous Nations on reconciliation, and invest more in care and maintenance for the city to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve had three terms of experience. I know the job. I’ve seen the job. I think I know how to do the job,” she said.

Alto is the second person to announce their intention to replace retiring mayor Lisa Helps after Stephen Andrew declared his intention in November. Andrew won his council seat in a by-election in 2020.

Andrew told CHEK News he welcomes the challenge from Alto.

“For those happy with the direction of council, they now have a candidate they can vote for. But the majority of people I speak to want change. And I welcome their vote,” he said.

In the next five months, political scientist Dave Black says the candidates will have to work hard to win over voters.

“Victoria is a place where whether it’s federal, provincial or municipal, that tilts noticeably to the centre left,” he said. “So you have to in a binary race, a two-erson race where you have someone who is maybe right-leaning, and one who is left-leaning, you’re going to have to like the chances for the left-leaning candidate.”

With councillors Alto and Andrew running for mayor, a third councillor, Sharmarke Dubow, has announced he’s stepping down after this term, meaning council will have a brand new look — and tone — after the 2022 municipal election is held Oct. 15.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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