JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News
NIAGARA FALLS – Local Liberals searching for a candidate to carry the party’s banner in a byelection can cross one name off their list.
Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati says he’s content to keep the job he has – at least for the time being.
Diodati tells Bullet News he’s not planning to seek the seat at Queen’s Park left vacant by the unexpected resignation earlier this week of the now former Liberal MPP Kim Craitor.
“Whe I campaigned for the job of mayor, I presented a 10-year plan that is still unfolding,” said Diodati, who was elected head-of-council in late 2010.
“My commitment is to the City of Niagara Falls and I have no interest at this time of pursuing any other roles.”
Craitor’s resignation was announced Tuesday afternoon by way of simultaneous media released issued from his constituency office and from the Office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Craitor, who just turned 67, gave no specific reasons for quiting so suddenly, other than to say his retirement will be a time for him to put his health and family first.
He has not spoken directly to the media since his resignation was made public and it’s not clear whether he intends to do so.
Craitor’s departure instantly changed the dynamics of the next election campaign – whether it will be a byelection or a general election.
Until Tuesday, it had looked like the next contest would be a rematch between Craitor and former Progessive Conservative MPP Bart Maves, whom Craitor beat to win the seat in 2003 and bested again in 2007.
Maves, now a regional councillor representing Niagara Falls, won his party’s nomination in January, beating out two other would-be candidates.
On Wednesday, the day after Craitor’s announcement, the Niagara Falls provincial Liberal riding association announced it has begun the procees of identifying potential candidates.
Riding president Karen Gansel said the process includes the establishment of a candidate search committee, whose membership will include representation from each of the three communities that make up the Niagara Falls Riding – Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
“We plan to have the recruitment process open for 30 days with the result being a short list of qualified and committed candidates to go to a nominations committee,” said Gansel. “Members of the committee will be identified when all confirmations are complete.”
Interested candidates should submit a short resume to Gansel by Oct. 31. Each will have an opportunity to meet with members of the candidate search committee.
Gansel can be reached by phone at 905-468-4010 and email@example.com.
Gansel did not say how many people have come forward so far, but at least one Liberal has publicly expressed an interest in the nomination.
Niagara Falls city Coun. Carolynn Ioannoni told Bullet News on Tuesday she is “seriously considering” seeking the nomination.
“I’m seriously considering it,” said Ioannoni. “The reality is we need a representative.”
Ioannoni, who praised Craitor for his years of service and work on behalf of constituents, said she has often thought about entering provincial politics, but would not have challenged Craitor for the nomination had he not resigned.
“Every election, people approach you (about running) … but I’m a firm believer you don’t run against friends,” said Ioannoni.
“I really believe I could represent the people here on their positions.”
Ioannoni has been a member of Niagara Falls city council for 13 years. During that time she has served on numerous committees, while at the same time maintaining volunteer commitments in the community.
The NDP, who were represented in the 2011 election by viagra without prescription former Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop, have not yet selected a candidate.
Redekop could not be reached for comment.
Another prominent New Democrat, though, is taking a wait-and-see approach.
Niagara Falls city Coun. Wayne Gates, a trade union leader, says he hasn’t ruled out carrying his party’s banner into the next election.
However, Gates said he hasn’t had the opportunity to think seriously about since Craitor’s resignation and he would want to have discussions with his family, as well and work and council colleagues before making any decision.
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