Josh Semotiuk just can’t relate to the politicians who have been dominating Edmonton city hall. So instead of sitting at home complaining about who to vote for, he’s running for mayor himself.
“I decided the city could use just a regular guy shaking things up.”
"This is what democracy is about"
A 29-year-old father of two, Semotiuk admits his chances might appear slim. But that’s not stopping him from taking the leap into the world of politics. “To me this is what democracy is about, anyone can run for office.”
In between working a graveyard shift as an electrician, Semotiuk is working on his campaign.
He’s hoping to appeal to Edmontonians who are looking for a change. “I bring a fresh face, I’m not a career politician and I bring new ideas and a fresh attitude at how to solve the city’s problems.”
Semotiuk sees the condition of Edmonton’s roads as a major issue. “We’re playing catch up with a lot of infrastructure like our roads and our transit isn’t where I feel it should be for a city this size.”
Not taking donations
Another thing Semotiuk hopes sets him apart is that he’s not pretending he has all the answers. “I’m not afraid to tell someone I’m not sure of the best way to do that. I’m going to be completely honest with people all the time. I’m not afraid to say I don’t know. Let’s find people who do know and work on a solution together.”
Semotiuk admits he doesn’t have the kind of money some of the more established names running for mayor do. In fact, he has a problem with the hundreds of thousands of dollars being raised by some of his opponents.
He knows it will put him at a disadvantage but Semotiuk is taking a stand against fundraising. “I’m not taking donations from anybody or any businesses. I think private citizens should keep their money, we pay enough in taxes.”
Not raising any money means Semotiuk can’t even afford to buy campaign signs. But that doesn’t worry him either. “I don’t really agree with signs on a personal level, I’m just going to try and work social media and conventional media to get my name out there.”
While colleagues and friends have been encouraging him to run, Semotiuk has already been told by some people he can’t win. It’s made him more determined to carry on. “Anything can happen in politics, right? We’ll see how far this can go with word of mouth and people power.”
CBC News has contacted the sixth mayoral candidate, Kristine Acielo, for a profile but has not yet been able to schedule an interview.