A month and half after the party she led for close to 13 years failed to unseat the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives in June, the Hamilton Centre MPP will be giving up her provincial role for a chance to be the city’s top politician on Oct. 24.
“I will be stepping down from that role as I seek the mayor’s position and want to take all of the things that that I’ve learned through the passion and and connection that the people of Hamilton have meant for me and bring it back home,” Horwath told Global News, ending weeks of speculation.
The 59-year-old says civic politics is the “best place” for her in light of inspiration she’s received from constituents in recent weeks.
“I’ve heard from a lot of Hamiltonians, a lot of encouragement, and that’s been very heartening,” Horwath remarked.
As of Monday, former Hamilton Chamber of Commerce boss Keanin Loomis, former mayor and Liberal MP Bob Bratina and former head of the city’s taxi drivers’ union Ejaz Butt are the trio who have signed on to take a run at the mayor’s job so far.
Incumbent Fred Eisenberger has already said he will not be seeking re-election.
Amid conjecture of Horwath’s candidacy, Eisenberger told Global News he thought she would be an “excellent choice for mayor if she decides to run.”
“For us to be able to get behind a candidate like Andrea, that could be our first female mayor, certainly has a lot of cache and merit for me,” said Eisenberger.
“Certainly her policies are very, very similar to mine and I know that she’d be interested in building on this.”
Horwath is no stranger to city politics, having been elected to council in 1997 for Ward 2 and staying on via two re-elections in 2000 and 2003.
Her three terms included chair positions on the solid waste management committee and the municipal non-profit housing corporation.
She made the transition to provincial politics in 2004, winning a byelection to succeed Liberal Dominic Agostino, who died that year, in the then-riding of Hamilton-East.
The new mayoral candidate suggests a growing population spurring development of the city’s waterfront, entertainment district and LRT will be key issues in the mayoral campaign, as will providing general housing for seniors, those with disabilities, families and working people.
“There are some really important pieces we have to make sure that we are paying attention to if we’re going to have an optimal result,” Horwath said.
“You know, a bigger, more vibrant city in terms of population, but one where people still feel connected to their community and connected to Hamilton overall.”
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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