John Dooley is back
John Dooley returns to the mayor’s chair in Nelson with renewed appreciation and passion for the job
“I’m excited about returning to the role of mayor, and I take it on with a lot of passion and desire,” said John Dooley of Nelson, B.C. “I feel privileged to be here.”
Dooley held the position of mayor of Nelson from 2005 to 2014, and on October 20, 2018, he was re-elected to the City’s top job.
Here is a summary of the discussion we had with Mayor Dooley in mid-December.
What prompted you to run for office again?
I truly enjoy doing this job. We all go through life wanting to do what we love to do, and a lot of times it doesn’t happen for us. I’ve loved every minute of being involved in local government from the first time I was elected as a councillor in 1999.
A number of people encouraged me to put my name forward for this position, so I believed that they liked what I had done as mayor in the past, and I’m humbled by that. Based on where I came from myself, it’s amazing that I would have their credibility and trust to take on this role.
I believe in my own heart that, being an immigrant—growing up in Ireland and coming to Canada in 1967—I have a certain responsibility to do the best job I can, to prove that new Canadians can and do contribute in many ways.
In just a few words, how would you describe Nelson?
The people here are accepting, generous, involved and persevering, and they always want to be informed.
What’s something you’d like everyone to know about Nelson?
The chamber of commerce in Nelson has the highest per capita membership of any chamber in the province. When I go to the chamber’s monthly business-after-business events, I’m fascinated with the diversity of businesses represented. That’s a direct result of the number of entrepreneurs in Nelson, in addition to our government employers, our school district, the health care sector and the resource sector.
Because of new structuring, the number of people employed by the government has dwindled somewhat, but people have found ways to continue to live in Nelson by taking their skill sets and going into consulting and other small businesses. The tech sector has become a real driver in the community.
What’s the prime focus for council in 2019?
Like other communities, we’re under pressure to do the best we can with the resources we have. We’re over 100 years old now, and our core services are constantly in need of upgrades and repairs. I want to continue to focus on making sure people have good, clean water to drink and that Nelson is a safe place to live. It’s not very glamorous, but it’s the job we have to do.
I’d like to improve the quality of life in Nelson, and we can do that by continuing to support the many volunteer groups that work in our community without financial incentive—those in our library, the museum-art gallery, minor sports and recreation facilities, our cultural ambassadors and cultural development committees—they all need our support to keep going. Great ideas come from them, and they do much of the heavy lifting to make our community a wonderful place to live. I want to continue to help them do that.