Veteran alderman seeks mayor's chair

Calgary Ald. Bob Hawkesworth is taking a run at the city's top job after serving as alderman under three different mayors.
Ald. Bob Hawkesworth has served under three different mayors as alderman on Calgary council. He announced his own mayoral campaign on Monday. ((CBC))

Calgary Ald. Bob Hawkesworth is taking a run at the city's top job after serving as alderman under three different mayors.

"Calgary, it would be an honour to serve with you, and for you, as your mayor," Hawkesworth said at a reception Monday in a southwest home packed with friends and family.

Hawkesworth touched on the city's economic prospects as a significant campaign plank, proposing a review of the city's competitiveness in quality of life, job creation and investment. He stated he wasn't talking about cuts to property taxes and service levels.

"We must make sure we keep the tax burden affordable for everyone, including business. The city's books need to be balanced as carefully as we have to balance our budgets at home," Hawkesworth said.

The veteran alderman, who was first elected to Calgary council in 1980, said spending money on public services can help save money in the long term.

"Think of how much all of us would have saved earlier this winter, if council had budgeted more money for snow removal. We could have avoided a lot of grief and inconvenience and expense," he said, pointing out that council turned down his motion in 2007 to add money to the snow removal budget.

Standing in an energy efficient home on the first day of Environment Week, Hawkesworth promised to lead the city in leaving a smaller ecological footprint by encouraging construction of more green homes.

He also highlighted a new Enmax district energy centre downtown that he started lobbying for seven years ago.

Hawkesworth re-elected 6 times

One of the city's longest serving aldermen, Hawkesworth jumped to provincial politics in 1986 when he was chosen as the MLA for Calgary-Mountain View for the Alberta NDP. In 1993, Hawkesworth returned to municipal government where he's been re-elected six times as Ward 4 alderman.

Eight men are now in the running to be Calgary's next mayor, including two of Hawkesworth's current council colleagues, Ric McIver and Joe Connelly.

Others who have launched campaigns are:

  • Civic activist and professor Naheed Nenshi.
  • Former alderman Craig Burrows.
  • Liberal MLA Kent Hehr.
  • Paul Hughes, past president of the Calgary Food Policy Council.
  • Former alderman and Conservative MLA Jon Lord.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier announced in February that he would not seek re-election this October.