THUNDER BAY – This fall is shaping up as a year where the current city council in Thunder Bay will face a challenge at the ballot box. Incumbent two-term Mayor Lynn Peterson is facing off against Keith Hobbs and two other opponents, Jeff Irwin and Brian Kwasny.
Hobbs has been quietly campaigning now for over two months. This past Tuesday, over 100 people came out to a “Meet and Greet” to discuss issues within the City of Thunder Bay with the candidate.
Hobbs is spending his time, building a case with the people of Thunder Bay, and gathering evidence on what he feels must be done. In a way, it is taking his thirty-three years of experience as a police officer and transferring those skills to the political arena.
Mayor Peterson has continued her schedule of meetings, travel and duties. That has left little time for official campaigning. Other than initial announcements, Irwin and Kwasny have remained very quiet.
Hobbs on the other hand, has not missed any opportunities to meet with residents. That has gone so far as to address the crowd at the Mayor’s Walk last weekend. Apparently Mayor Peterson headed out without addressing the crowd, so Hobbs stepped up.
Such moves may rile some in the Peterson camp, but likely with October a long ways away still, the Mayor likely believes that few people are paying a lot of attention to the civic election.
However in some ways, the long political season was kicked off by Peterson herself. That happened when the Mayor declared she is running for a third term back in January.
It is still a long way off until September, but as Hobbs continues gathering evidence and building support he could build enough momentum that it could carry him into City Hall.
One area that there is a sharp contrast between Peterson and Hobbs is in dealing with confrontation. Mayor Peterson does not appear all that comfortable in confrontational politics, and is far more accomplished working the backrooms. Hobbs, likely as a matter of training is far more able to deal with confrontational situations.
It is way too early to call the Mayor’s race, but what there does appear across the city is a growing mood for change. I think for many on Council that mood is a bit of a surprise. Several members of Council have been working very hard, and very well together.
Those elected officials likely do not feel that there is a great need for change.
`However watching some of the members of Council, it sometimes appears, that for some on Monday nights they are reading the information packet for the first time.
There have been a steady number of candidates coming forward and declaring their intentions. It is likely that some of the current Councillors are sitting back and waiting to judge the political winds.