Jeff Davison said there’s a gap in field to be Calgary’s next mayor, and he said he has the track record to fill it.
Davison, who originally filed his candidacy in Ward 6, said his original intention was to continue work on the city’s growth and recovery from the ward seat.
He said the work he’s done over the past four years has helped set the city up for future success. Yet, that recovery isn’t guaranteed, Davison said.
“I think we’re now at a point where everything we’ve worked toward is in jeopardy if we don’t have the right type of collaborative leadership. Ultimately, that’s exactly why I want to be here,” Davison told LiveWire Calgary.
Davison now joins a field of 14 other candidates, including two fellow councillors: Jyoti Gondek and Jeromy Farkas.
It also ensures that the next city council could only have six of 14 prior councillors return after Oct. 18.
Davison said the top immediate priority for the next mayor is the COVID-19 recovery. He said the city needs to bring both government and business on side to accelerate investment into the city. He said he has a track record of leading successful initiatives for the city and that’s what Calgary needs right now.
“I’ve proven to be that leader and I’m going to continue to be that leader,” he said.
Davison was the point person for the currently paused Events Centre deal with Calgary Sports and Entertainment. That deal has taken some heat from the public for the lack of public engagement prior and the limited information available on recent changes.
Davison has also taken a lead role in the economic development portfolio for the city. He sits as a board member for Calgary Economic Development.
Trust at Calgary city hall
When asked about trust at city hall, an issue being raised thus far on the campaign trail, Davison said it comes down to doing what you say.
“I think people are looking for a candidate who does what they say they’re going to do,” Davison said.
He said trust lies in those who have string of successes, which he believes he does.
“We’re ready for the comeback of a lifetime. We’ve got to not just talk about it, we’ve got to make it happen,” Davison said.
Davison said he’s tried to execute his council role with an eye on all of Calgary, not just his ward. He said it’s going to take provincial and federal partnerships, along with private sector partnerships, to move the city forward.
“We need somebody who has a track record of bringing people together, finding common ground, and delivering on the programming we put together,” he said.
On his Ward 6 re-election website, Davison highlights helping negotiate a Green Line deal that saved the city $300 million.
In June 2020, Davison, along with fellow councillors Sutherland, Gondek and Demong, advocated for a single finished line from Eau Claire south to Shepard. It also noted a boosted bus-rapid transit system north along Centre Street.
Davison said he supports a robust transportation network, and the Green Line is a major part of that network.
“But given our economic realities, there’s going to be adjustments that are going to have to be made on most of our major capital programs. I think what we have to do is think proactively about how we’re going to cross those bridges and how we can pivot, if need be when situations change,” he said.
“The key here is balancing future needs with present day realities,” he said.
Economy a top-tier issue; racism in Calgary
Davison said investment dollars will help Calgary keep stable revenue and funding for delivering services and social programs in Calgary.
He said the economic recovery is critical for Calgary.
Davison points to his work with Calgary economic development in helping attract businesses, but also the work done to limit the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on Calgary small business.
“My platform over the next four years is exactly the same as my record over the last four years. I’ve been laser focused on accelerating investment back into Calgary,” he said.
He highlighted the city’s film industry, and the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund as major successes he’s been a part of in his last term.
Davison said with the acknowledgement of systemic racism in Calgary, it’s important the next mayor govern for all citizens.
“Racism is not negotiable. Period. Full stop. It won’t be tolerated in this city where we’re building a city that’s inclusive of everyone,” he said.
He said it’s important to reprioritize the city’s budget to better reflect the needs of a diverse range of Calgarians. Davison said the Community Investment Framework is an example of a proactive approach to dealing with different services, whether it’s racism or other areas like addiction and mental health.
Separating from the field
With the mayoral field bulging – and expected to grow even further – Davison said where the wheat will separate from the chaff is in demonstrated leadership.
He said Calgarians are looking for a mayor that can move Calgary forward with trust and collaboration.
“I’m running because I think there’s a gap in the mayor’s race. No one else has a track record of success. No one else has a collaborative leadership style, and I think that’s exactly what’s needed right now in Calgary,” he said.
Calgary’s municipal election is Oct. 18, 2021.