AND THEN there were four.
With current councillor Dieter Dudy throwing his hat in the ring for the mayor’s race in the upcoming October municipal election, Kamloops now has four candidates for the top civic job.
While both Dudy and Singh are current Kamloops councillors, there are differences between the two, especially in terms of style and approach.
At Dudy’s very first press conference, he came out contrasting himself to Singh. Asked if he could beat Singh, Kamloops This Week reports Dudy said, “I just believe that I’m more balanced in my approach and that I have broader appeal, so I feel I can get the masses on my side.”
Singh, responding to Dudy’s announcement of running for mayor, posted on Twitter “Dieter has huge integrity and goodness. We agree on a lot and also have important differences in approach and ideas. Good idea exchange ahead!”
Whereas Dudy is blunt and direct, even in the heat of an election Singh presents a conciliatory approach. Two very different styles.
Another difference is the teams that they have assembled.
If Kamloops has an old-boys’ club, then Dudy has it as his campaign team. Present at his campaign launch were former MLA and mayor Terry Lake, past-president of the North Shore Business Improvement Association Bryce Herman, and his campaign manager Henry Pejril, who has previously managed campaigns for Lake, Peter Milobar, and Ken Christian.
Singh’s diverse campaign team draws from various parts of the community. On his team are the likes of Jo Berry, founder of Kamloops’ Boogie the Bridge, Peter Cameron-Inglis, of Mastermind Studios, and Tricia Sellmer, a renowned local artist.
What both Dudy and Singh have in common is the ability to connect with people one-on-one. Dudy doesn’t hesitate to lend an ear to people while manning his farmer’s market stall on a Wednesday or Saturday. Singh has a rolodex memory for remembering special events in people’s lives and continually reaches out to check in to see how individuals are doing.
Each of them has built a political career based on connecting with people across the community, one voter at a time.
There are, of course, two other candidates, Dhaliwal and Hamer-Jackson. Both are drawing from the same well of voter discontent. Homelessness, the opioid crisis, and general dissatisfaction with how things are currently being done at City Hall are part of both campaigns.
When Dudy ran in 2011, he almost unceded incumbent Peter Milobar in the mayor’s race. Dissatisfaction appears to be at least as deep now, but with two candidates campaigning against the current council’s actions. But Dhaliwal and Hamer-Jackson may end up splitting the vote of people who want a change. It will be interesting to see if either can capture the imagination of voter malcontent.
The months ahead, until Oct. 15, will be a contrast in style. Straighfoward and direct from Dudy. Consensus building and grassroots from Singh. On the attack of the current council by Dhaliwal and Hamer-Jackson. It promises to be an interesting five months ahead, no matter who else enters the race.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.