Politics typically gears down for the summer, but Chatham entrepreneur Jeff Bultje is ready to rev up the political machine by publicly declaring his intention to run for mayor of Chatham-Kent.
The 51-year-old partner in a family home building business has a few reasons for stating his intention to seek the mayor’s job more than a year out from the next municipal election in October 2018.
This being his second time making a run to be mayor, Bultje said many of his supporters told him during the last election that they would only support him if he ran again, because most people don’t win the first time they run for political office.
“So, I have to fulfill that promise first,” he said.
Bultje said he has also decided to declare early, because “I don’t want to have the same situation as we had last election in that we had way too many people running.”
He was among the seven candidates in the last municipal election on Oct. 27, 2014, finishing fifth with 4,298 votes.
Bultje said when there are several candidates running, the person who wins the mayor’s race will not get in with a majority of the vote.
“It will be just a slim, minority vote and that’s not really fair to the whole democratic process,” he said.
In fact, Mayor Randy Hope won the last election with just under 29-per-cent of the vote.
While Bultje plans to seek the mayor’s seat, that could change if a stronger candidate approaches him.
“I would gladly step aside if somebody else more qualified is willing to do it, but so far I have not heard of anybody,” he said.
Describing his political views, Bultje said he favours an attitude of “economic conservatism.
“It’s about keeping things local, keeping things simple, and really trying to promote Chatham-Kent to shine out as opposed to always thinking that salvation for Chatham-Kent is somewhere out there, because it’s not,” he said.
Bultje believes economic development has to be a community effort.
“The whole idea of economic development can’t come from just a few people, it has to come from every person working in Chatham-Kent, every citizen to promote this city,” he said.
Bultje, who runs Multi-Construction with his brother, said family members are available to enable him to step aside to do the mayor’s job full-time.