City councillor Brian Skakun officially announced his bid to seek reelection for a seventh term in office on Sunday.
Following Coun. Murry Krause’s announcement that he will not be seeking reelection, Skakun is the longest-serving city councillor who will be on the ballot on Oct. 15. Skakun was first elected in 2002.
“I’m running for a seventh, and most likely, final term,” Skakun said. “I had so many people asking me to run one more time.”
Skakun said the theme of his seventh election campaign is “we can do better.” Much of the last term was spent, “running around putting out fires,” he said, dealing with problems, many of the city’s own making.
He hopes whoever sits around the city council table after Oct. 15 is dedicated to improving transparency and accountability for city council and the city’s administration. Council’s job is to set policy, and then hold the city administration accountable to act on it.
“I’m hoping that whoever is on this next council is going to be bold,” he said. “They (the public) expect us make sure the taxpayers’ dollars are well spent. We need to make sure… people in the community know how we make decisions.”
Members of city council need to set the bar higher and work to create a culture of openness and transparency within the city that starts at the top, he said.
Skakun said one of the top issues he’s been hearing from the public is around homelessness, crime and public safety. The city needs to continue working with the provincial and federal governments to increase resources to combat homelessness and drug addiction, not just in Prince George, but throughout the north, he said.
“So many people are coming to Prince George from the northern part of the province,” he said. “Unless we stem the flow, we could keep building (shelters) and never keep up. We have to do more, there is no doubt when you look at what is happening at Third (Avenue) and George (Street).”
Working with the RCMP will be a key piece of being successful in addressing the crime issues downtown and across the city, he added.
Skakun has launched his campaign website, brianskakun.ca, and plans to use it to unveil more details about his platform over the coming weeks.