Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 30, 2022
Bob Bratina announces plans to run for Hamilton mayor, says he offers ‘veteran knowledge’
Bob Bratina says he suspects there will be new faces around the council table come October and is making the pitch it would help to have a familiar one too — his.
“There needs to be a little bit of stability in terms of veteran knowledge of how a city council works,” he told CBC Hamilton Tuesday morning, the day after announcing his intentions to run during an interview on CHML.
“I think it’s hard to disagree with the fact that you can’t just completely throw everybody out and start all over again. There are ramifications to that.”
Bratina, a former broadcaster, previously served as Hamilton’s mayor from 2010 to 2014.
He was elected as MP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek for the Liberals in 2015 and again in 2019, but broke with the party over its support of Hamilton’s light-rail transit (LRT) project.
Bratina has been a vocal critic of LRT since his time on council. In May last year, he announced he wouldn’t run federally again, and teased then about the possibility of throwing his hat back in the ring for mayor.
On Tuesday Bratina said he thinks people are “tired” of hearing about LRT, noting it’s “on a course of its own” and in the hands of councillors.
“If I were to become mayor, with the council, I would have one of 16 votes.”
Bratina joins Keanin Loomis, who stepped down from his role as the CEO of Hamilton’s Chamber of Commerce in January to run for the top job on city council.
Fred Eisenberger, Hamilton’s current mayor, said Tuesday that he hasn’t made a final decision on whether to run again, but “I would not bet against it.”
He added the window for nominations runs from May to August and he will make a decision during that time.
On Tuesday Bratina declined to speak about it in depth, saying “the past is for memoirs” and adding that he believes that council at that time functioned well.
He did say most of the “antagonists of the past” have moved on, describing the municipal officials of those days as “an old boys group who were around since roughly the beginning of the century.”
Now, Bratina said, he’s focused on the future.
He’s 77, but said he views any suggestion that could preclude him from running as “ageism,” noting with a laugh that he’s healthy and even considered running Around the Bay this year.
“The main thing I have … is the passion for it,” he said. “If the electorate decides it’s time for me to go, that’s fine. It’s up to them. But it’s not up to pundits to say what I should or shouldn’t do.”
Municipal elections will be held on Oct. 24. All potential candidates have until Aug. 19 to file nomination papers. (CBC)