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Coquitlam mayor seeks fifth term, cites 'vicious politics' in last campaign

Richard Stewart explains the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow him to tick off everything he wanted to accomplish in his current term.
richard stewart
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart.

Four years ago, Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart walked into the newsroom at the Tri-City News to announce his last campaign.

He had a job offer from a developer, and he named the company. He was looking forward to getting out of politics, he said.

On Monday (Aug. 29) — eight minutes before midnight — Stewart emailed a lengthy news release to the Tri-City News to state he'd be seeking a fifth term as mayor in the 2022 municipal election.

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow him to tick off everything he wanted to accomplish in his current term, Stewart wrote.

And one of his reasons for running for re-election is to address the barriers that affect residents with mental health concerns.

"My family has seen first-hand the challenges and gaps that so many families face when loved ones experience mental health struggles," he wrote.

"Society needs to better understand these realities, and governments at all levels need to continue to focus on ensuring that those with mental health challenges aren’t left behind."

Stewart added his contributions to Mayors for Mental Health were cut short by the pandemic.

"I really want to complete that work," he said, noting the re-branded Local Leaders for Mental Health initiative launches in September.

Stewart said he's proud of his council record, and how councillors and city staff work together.

In his release, which did not include any campaign contact information for voters, the mayor and former BC Liberal MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville (2001-2005) also addressed the 2018 campaign.

He commented on the "vicious politics" without mentioning his opponent, Adel Gamar, whom Stewart will face again as a mayoralty challenger in the Oct. 15 race.

"I welcome Mr. Stewart’s decision to run for re-election," Gamar told the Tri-City News today (Aug. 31).

"There are important issues facing the people of Coquitlam. I have spent the summer meeting neighbours across our city and people are telling me that they are looking for change."

Gamar added, "I am focused on running a positive campaign and building a city for everyone."

As of this publication, both Stewart and Gamar have yet to file their nomination papers at city hall.

The nomination period closes at 4 p.m. on Sept. 9.

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has also scheduled a series of all-candidates debates for local 2022 civic elections.

Coquitlam mayor and council nominees will get the chance to speak to the issues that matter to them, and take questions from the public, at the Evergreen Cultural Centre on Sept. 22.

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