TRURO - The Truro Daily News is offering a closer look at the two mayoral candidates running in this month's municipal election in the Town of Truro. Incumbent Bill Mills and opponent Keltie Jones are vying for the top position in town council. Mills has been in municipal politics for 25 years, while Jones is new to the town council forum. The following is a look at both candidates' biographies as well as some questions and answers the Truro Daily News posed to Mills and Jones.
Name: W.R. (Bill) Mills
Job: Sales manager at Kwik Kopy Design & Print Centre in Truro
Education: High school, one year business
Political experience: Municipal politics for 25 years
Family: Married to Phyllis for 32 years, seven children and three grandchildren
What's the last book you read? William Chrystal's Derek Upton Story (Battle of Britain) "Could Have Gone On and On"
What are the top three issues facing Truro?
1) Flooding and discussions with the province and federal governments about getting serious about starting (to) fix (existing problems), as well review of planning issues related to water run-off.
2) Securing Hilber Solar as a tenant in our Truro Business Park (100 plus jobs) as well as moving forward on solar farms for the old landfill site and newly expanded business park. The goal is to start the process of gaining new revenue streams for the town so we won't have to continually rely on the taxpayers by upping tax rates.
3) The Hilden overpass in co-operation with Millbrook and Colchester County so that we will be in a position to take advantage of spin-offs from the Irving shipbuilding contract in our area, as well as provide direct truck routes to our business park and away from the Exit 13 area for the new hospital and civic centre.
What would be your No. 1 priority as mayor during the next four years? "Sustainability, by acting on the town's first-ever sustainability plan that won the Best in Canada Award in St John's Nfld/Labrador in 2011."
Where should the local library be located? "The Normal College because when I see 400 to 500 year (old) buildings in Austria still being used effectively I cannot justify spending $10 to $12 million on a new building for the library and still have the problem of what to do with the Normal College. Plus, the County of Colchester has put $2.4 million on the table towards this project ... that window will not be open forever."
What makes you the best candidate for mayor of Truro? "Twenty-five years of service. I know the people to deal with and I believe what we have accomplished over the last 15 years shows we have gotten a lot done. Now is not the time to learn on the job."
What's your stance on Truro amalgamating with some neighbouring communities to produce a ‘super town?' "Sounds good on paper, however, when you look at taking over the costs of roads for a super town you will find the expense will far exceed the benefits. Plus, at the size we are now, we are best able to be accessible to the citizens; a super-sized town will only decrease your chances of having your phone call returned."
What are your favourite hobbies? "Working in my yard, reading, and just lately my two newest grandchildren Nadia (and) Lexi (twins) and golf.
What are your favourite movie and TV show? "The Original Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims and NFL/CFL football."
What is your earliest memory of being interested in politics? "Grade 7 student council."
"Who is a person, alive or dead, who has inspired you? "By far Sir Winston Churchill and the Apostle Paul."
Name: Keltie Jones
Job: Assistant dean of students, Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
Education: B.A., international relations, Stanford University; J.D., University of California; Davis, School of Law; doctorate in business administration, in progress, Athabasca University
Political experience: Five years as an elected school board trustee, including one year as board president, Davis Joint Unified School Board. Responsible to 50,000 constituents with a budget of $65 million.
Family: Joy (wife), Diana and Joanne (daughters)
What's the last book you read? "The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor" by Sally Armstrong, a novel about an early settler in "West Nova Scotia" (now New Brunswick).
What are the top three issues facing Truro?
"We need a transparent government that facilitates public participation; economic development that creates good jobs and opportunities for local shopping; and leadership that is willing and able to promote Truro as a welcoming and progressive community."
What would be your No. 1 priority as mayor during the next four years? "Over the next four years, one of my highest priorities will be to work with local partners to improve our infrastructure and community supports. As an example, the flooding we have seen in the past few weeks proves that we need to be proactively engaged with other municipal entities to develop plans to improve our infrastructure and to advocate for the support we need. One of my short-term goals is to improve access to our town government by making meetings more accessible and improving our use of technology."
Where should the local library be located? "The library needs to be located where it is accessible to the entire community, within easy walking distance for as many people as possible. The location and the design must meet the needs of a modern library, creating a community gathering space and an environment that supports and promotes both individual and group learning."
What makes you the best candidate for mayor of Truro? "I bring extensive experience in board governance, a strong background in administration and leadership, and a fresh perspective on our town and its governance. I would provide the strong leadership Truro needs to take advantage of our potential and help us be recognized as one of the best communities in Nova Scotia to work, learn and live."
What's your stance on Truro amalgamating with some neighbouring communities to produce a ‘super town?' "Nova Scotia's experience with amalgamation provides many important lessons for municipal leaders. When amalgamation is pushed from the outside, it can create more problems than it solves, but when it develops organically from the communities involved, it can be very positive. If there is a genuine public interest in amalgamation, I believe we should discuss it openly and explore all the benefits and challenges it would bring, before proposing any significant changes."
What is your earliest memory of being interested in politics? "I look upon running for mayor as being interested in public service rather than being interested in politics. I first considered serving my community in this way when a seat opened up on my local school board ... I have also served my community as a member of several non-profit boards, including the Truro District School Bands Auxiliary and the Colchester Adult Learning Association."
What are your three favourite hobbies? "Running/walking in Victoria Park, quilting, kayaking."
What are your favourite movie and TV show? "I enjoy many movies, but cannot choose one that stands out as my favourite" and "West Wing and Glee" on DVD.
Who is a person, alive or dead, who has inspired you? Her grandmother. "I have often said that my family raised me to believe that everyone is important and worth knowing. My grandmother exemplified that philosophy by treating everyone with respect and clearly valuing every person she encountered."