Andrew Black says after six years on Sackville Town Council, he’s ready to take the plunge and run for mayor of the new Town of Tantramar in the municipal elections on November 28.
“I just recently got elected as president of UMNB, the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick and for the last year working with that organization and my work on council, my love of local government and representation has just expanded to the nth degree,” Black said today during an interview at his home in Middle Sackville.
“I thought this would be the next logical step to represent the Town of Tantramar going into a new opportunity within our community as mayor.”
Black, who is currently serving as Sackville’s deputy mayor, explains that for him, local government is the most important level of government.
“People who live within communities have a direct impact on government that affects them directly — everything from streets to sewers to recreation activities, to you name it,” he says.
“The province and the feds can’t really do that, they do it at a high degree, whereas local government is where we can make significant changes that impact people’s lives in a wonderful way.”
Black says his role as mayor would be to gather information and use it to bring councillors together while representing the new town’s interests on the regional service commission and taking a firm stand when it’s needed with the province.
He adds that he’s proud of Sackville’s achievements during his time on council such as getting approval for the $14 million cost-shared Lorne St. flood control project; establishing a climate change advisory committee; providing sports subsidies to support families as well as his own work with a community group on affordable housing.
Black says he’s also proud of his work with Fort Folly and the Regional Chief of First Nations in New Brunswick to help draft two resolutions that Sackville Town Council passed and that were also approved by the UMNB.
“One of those was getting Indigenous languages on municipal voting ballots and another one was to try to get the government to support Truth and Reconciliation Day,” he says.
“I personally worked on those. I feel very proud of that and just recently the provincial government finally recognized Truth and Reconciliation Day, so I’d like to feel that I had a direct responsibility in that.”
Black says that as mayor, he would continue to build on co-operation with Fort Folly while reinforcing the strong community ties that already exist across the Tantramar Region in places such as Midgic, Point de Bute and Rockport.
“It’s all the same community. The kids who live around here, they go to the same high school, we shop the same local businesses, we take in events in the same places,” he says.
“It is a community, it always has been, it’s just been separated by non-existent borders and now we have this opportunity to come together and with a new council, a new mayor, to talk about the…issues and concerns that bring us together.”
Flexible work hours
Black, who works from his home office ordering and co-ordinating shipments for a food services company that supplies fast food restaurants and convenience stores, says his flexible work hours would give him the time he needs to do both the mayor’s job and his own.
“Plus, I don’t sleep a lot,” he says with a laugh. “I work in the wee hours of the morning, I work late at night [and] I’m very, very confident that I would be able to do the job for the Town of Tantramar.”
Asked if he would commit to releasing a list of donors and the amounts they gave after the election, Black says yes.
“I believe in transparency, I think it’s important to do that,” he adds.
“So, if I do have any donors, I would absolutely disclose that information.”
To read the news release announcing Andrew Black’s candidacy, click here.
Note to readers: So far, the other contestant in the Tantramar mayoralty race is Shawn Mesheau who currently serves as Sackville’s mayor. Warktimes asked to interview Mesheau on Saturday after he had a chance to talk to people at his open house (2 to 4 p.m.) at St. Ann’s Church in Westcock. He agreed to an interview, “if I have time,” when I asked him at 2:20 p.m., but after he emerged from the church hall an hour and 40 minutes later as his open house ended, he claimed he did not know I had been waiting even though one of his campaign managers had seen me sitting on a bench in the hallway. “Sorry Bruce, I didn’t know you were still here and I have to see people in Midgic. Sorry,” he said as he hurried away. Mesheau’s open house was sparsely attended. In that hour and 40-minute period, I saw only one person arrive to see him.