Snook seeking Mayor's seat in upcoming elections
© Labradorian file photo
Jamie Snook has decided to throw his hat in the ring for the mayor position in the upcoming municipal elections in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this fall.
The race for the mayor's seat in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay municipal election has its first official candidate — Jamie Snook.
Just a few short weeks ago, in a earlier interview with The Labradorian, Snook felt he wasn't in a position to run for the mayor's chair, but that perspective has changed and he said the timing is now right.
People want a change in direction and they are reacting very positively to my approach,” said Snook of his campaigning, which began in late June with door-to-door visits throughout the community.
“I have worked hard this summer and so far I have visited over 1500 homes. I am intently listening to people's concerns and completing all my homework. It was important for me to make sure I could balance my career, family, health, and this new challenge and I know that I can.”
Snook said it was also important that his family support his decision, in particular, his wife, Holly.
“To be honest, Holly is nervous about it, but in our home she is the chief of staff that fully supports the things I do. (My children) Jonah and Jaiden are energetic about the whole campaign, they have been great volunteers and I am happy they are so involved.”
Snook said he cannot overstate the 'importance and the influence of going door to door.'
“If candidates do not take the time to really put in this effort, they are going to be at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding the current issues.”
Snook noted his door-to-door campaigning has been an eye-opener for him as it relates to concerns of the average citizen.
“When this campaign started, I shared my vision for a high quality of life, active citizens, an engaged electorate, access to our big land, and development that we can be proud of,” he said. “By going door to door, one clear theme became obvious and paramount —it’s the affordability of our town and for me this connects with our quality of life.
“People have told me about the cost of land, housing construction, house prices, monthly rental cost, the cost of groceries, air transportation, and during the campaign, the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro rate increase application was another kick in the pants. When you put all these costs in a basket, you quickly start to realize that the cost of living in town has increased.”
Snook said all these factors has affected him and it changes how you start to see things.
“It is an eye opener to learn that people are leaving town because they can’t afford it. I’ve always looked at Happy Valley–Goose Bay as a place a young person could get ahead. It has only ever been good to my family but listening to stories today there are big changes happening in town.”
Another challenge Snook said he wants to address is within Council chambers itself, given the very public and publicized actions and reactions of council members in the last couple of months.
“I have now had discussions and meetings with seven out of eight councilors from this past term and while all their perspectives vary, there has been one clear theme of concern related to the level of respect, communication, and accountability between the council and management,” Snook said.
“I have strong feelings about the importance of a cohesive council, a clear understanding of who is accountable to whom, the role for management to provide good information, analysis, and advice to the council. I have a strong background in management and governance structures and will be a proactive proponent of change in this area.”
Snook said people want to have a sense of confidence in their municipal government and as Mayor it will be critical to help facilitate change and build a close-knit council at the same time.
“As a group we will need to keep each other accountable; everyone has to bring their best to the table for all the right reasons. It cannot be a case of just a few councilors carrying the heavy load or simply deferring to management. I really like the idea of this new council creating a learning culture. We will all have a lot to learn and the next four years will provide a great opportunity for both personal growth and a change of culture at the municipality.”
Snook added there is still a lot of work to do before the voting happens in September but he appreciates the private emails, phones calls, and personal encouragement to run for Mayor.
“All of this has helped me build confidence and I’m happy to be offering an alternative at this important time in our history. It’s only been a positive experience so far and speaking of hiring; I’m looking forward to seeing what the people decide for this position.”
He also noted Happy Valley-Goose Bay needs a qualified, competent person who will put in a level of effort second to none to run the town.
“Our town needs a change and now is not the time to be looking in the rear view mirror, so I am looking straight ahead with my best years to come.
“This summer I have been able to demonstrate that I have vision, initiative, education, experience, competence, and a strong work ethic. No one is going to work any harder and I hope to start a trend whereby other skilled people will come forward to make our town the best it can be.”