Brian McHattie is running for mayor, making him the first candidate to officially announce his intentions.

The Ward 1 councillor announced Monday evening, on Laura Babcock's 'The Laircast', that he will vie for the city’s top job in the municipal election next fall. A councillor since 2003, McHattie told CBC Hamilton that he represents some of the more progressive views on council.

“If you look at my politics over the last 10 years, I’ve been focusing on redevelopment in the existing urban boundary versus urban sprawl,” McHattie said.

He’s also an advocate of expanding transit and innovation industries, he said, as well as other environmentally friendly initiatives.

'I thought it was important to be the first off the block to show that I’m serious about this.' - Mayoral candidate Brian McHattie

McHattie has a strong environmental background. A native of Etobicoke, he moved to Hamilton in 1986 and got involved in community environmental issues. That included the original task force for sustainable development and the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan. He was also one of the founders of Environment Hamilton.

Initially a sales person, he earned an undergraduate degree in environmental planning from the University of Waterloo in the late 1980s and a masters in planning and development from the University of Guelph about 10 years later. He worked for Environment Canada until he was elected to council in 2003.

Politics run in McHattie's family. His grandfather was a councillor in the former municipality of Weston, he said, and his mother was active in the local neighbourhood association. McHattie also ran for mayor in 1997. It wasn’t so much to win, he said, but to discuss his ideas around poverty, social justice and the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

This time, he means it. Nominations officially open on Jan. 1. Until then, he said, he plans to build a team and develop a platform.

“I thought it was important to be the first off the block to show that I’m serious about this,” he said.

McHattie cites the redevelopment of the Lister Block, encouraging the CBC’s presence in Hamilton and improving relations with the provincial and federal government as some key victories so far as a councillor.

With increased citizen involvement and ever-growing activity on social media, McHattie said it’ll likely be a different election than years past.

“In the last election in 2010, it wasn’t a big thing,” he said. “Here it is three to four years later and it’s orders of magnitude involved.”

His campaign will still be heavily street focused, he said.

“I grew up in politics with the on-the-street campaign, banging on doors and engaging people,” he said.