Calgary

Coun. Jyoti Gondek joins race for mayor in 2021 Calgary election

A second member of city council has tossed their hat into the ring to be Calgary's next mayor.

Current Ward 3 councillor aims to be city's first female mayor

Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek announced her candidacy Wednesday for the top elected job in the city. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

A second member of city council has tossed their hat into the ring to be Calgary's next mayor.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek will complete her first term on council later this year, but she's hoping to serve on the next council as mayor.

"The work I've done, the support I've had from the community and my ability to move the city forward is why I'm doing this," said the Ward 3 councillor.

While launching her campaign with few specific campaign promises, she said city council needs to find ways to better connect with Calgarians and their priorities.

She's been an outspoken advocate for the Green Line LRT and has been pushing her colleagues to try to get CTrains operating north along Centre Street sooner than currently planned.

Gondek describes anyone who lives in Calgary as someone who had made an investment and they deserve a return on their investment.

"You deserve complete communities. You deserve strong transit and mobility networks. You deserve places to learn in your neighbourhood," she said.

Plans to stand up for Calgarians

But she's also advocating that people expect city hall to be there when they need help. 

"I think COVID has taught us if you are someone in a position of vulnerability right now, you deserve to know that this city will help you get back up again."

Gondek has also been an outspoken critic of Premier Jason Kenney's UCP government.

In recent weeks, she has criticized the province's plans for taking over Calgary's 911 EMS dispatch service, its pandemic response and the way the government has handled relations with municipalities.

She said that Calgarians expect a mayor to ensure their interests are heard and she makes no apologies for speaking out.

"I think it would be a tremendous disservice to Calgarians to not speak up on their behalf when things are not right."

Candidate list growing

Gondek is the second city councillor to announce they want the top elected job at city hall.

Ward 11 rep Jeromy Farkas announced last September he's running for mayor.

So far, only Farkas and businessman Brad Field have submitted their nomination forms to the city. Gondek has an appointment next week to submit her forms and $500 deposit to be a candidate.

There's still no decision from the incumbent, Naheed Nenshi, whether he will seek a fourth term this fall.

Gondek said whether Nenshi enters the race or not has no bearing on her decision to run.

If she wins the election, Gondek would become the first female mayor of Calgary. 

The nomination period opened earlier this month and runs until Sept. 20.

Calgarians go to the polls on Oct. 18.

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