Former Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger wants his old job back. Friday he became the city's newest mayoral candidate.
He was at the City Hall clerks counter to file his nomination papers at 11:30 a.m., surrounded by family and supporters. His candidacy is not a surprise since Eisenberger, who was Hamilton’s mayor from 2006 to 2010, made it clear earlier this year he would run again.
Current mayor Bob Bratina ousted the 61-year-old Eisenberger in 2010. He came in third behind former mayor Larry Di Ianni.
Eisenberger went on to spend two years as CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute. But he says he’s kept abreast of municipal politics.
In a short media conference after making his campaign official Friday, Eisenberger said he's looking forward to bringing his experience and knowledge back to the city. He told reporters that he's concerned about Hamilton's economy.
“We have a need to fix our commercial and industrial tax base,” he said. "The tax base is declining and continues to. We need to turn that around."
'This is about moving forward in the city, and Fred is part of the past.' - Coun. Brian McHattie
In an Q&A with CBC Hamilton's Samantha Craggs, he also dispelled the notion that he has been "out of the game" for too long.
“You’re never really out of the game. You have political capital. And by virtue of being the mayor and on city council for many years, and chair of the Hamilton Port Authority, I’ve got experience and understanding of our city," he said. "You don’t spend four years as mayor and not know and get to know the city more than most people in our community. I have that knowledge.”
Some in the community have voiced concerns that Eisenberger and candidate Coun. Brian McHattie will be splitting the vote and vying for the same people. McHattie told CBC Hamilton Friday that he doesn't think that will be the case.
"This is about moving forward in the city, and Fred is part of the past," McHattie said. "At some point you have to let go of the past and embrace youth and new ideas."
'There's no stopping him'
McHattie says he met with Eisenberger back in October, when the former mayor told him he would be running. There was no dissuading him by then, he says.
"Those who know Fred know that when he gets an idea in his head, there's no stopping him," McHattie said.
Eisenberger says he's not worried about splitting the vote. “Brian makes his choices and I make mine, and we’ll let the voters decide," he said.
Former mayor Larry Di Ianni has also been dealing with rumours that he would run for mayor again. He would only say he is “giving it some thought.”
McHattie told CBC Hamilton he "wouldn't be surprised" to see Di Ianni join the pack "in the next week or so."
Current mayor Bob Bratina won’t be running this year.
Eisenberger said he has "learned some lessons" since his last stint in office. “I was somewhat impatient for change last time around," he said. "I’m going to ensure I’m more patient this time around.”
Other candidates include councillors Brian McHattie and Brad Clark, former alderman Don Ross, Michael Baldasaro and Crystal Lavigne.