Rob Haverson isn’t one to allow inexperience to get in the way of his run for Barrie mayor.
“I know I’m just shooting for the stars here, and I understand that,” he told BarrieToday. “If it happens it will absolutely be amazing. I’d be very grateful, but if it doesn’t, that’s OK. I will still work with my community.”
Haverson, 33, has lived in Barrie all his life and owns a car detailing company.
Incumbent Jeff Lehman, Barrie’s mayor for 12 years, is not on the ticket this time, running instead for the provincial Liberals in the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte riding in the June 2 election.
Haverson has never run for public office before and says he didn’t consider running for ward councillor. Just for mayor.
“I’m an independent person,” he said. “I’m not running for a (political) party, I’m just doing this as a civilian here, trying to make a better life here for Barrie.”
And Haverson has a slogan: Make Barrie Great Again.
Is he a fan of former American president Donald Trump, whose slogan was (is?) Make America Great Again?
“Not so much,” Heverson said. “I am -ish, but not so much. I just really love that slogan and decided I want to stick with it — Make Barrie Great Again.”
As mayor, he would hope to tackle issues large and small.
“I just want to end up changing everything,” he said. “The way everything’s been going, I’m just tired of how our streets look, all the potholes and everything. I’ve just had enough. I’ve blown a couple of tires now on the road.”
Haverson would also like to see emergency services better funded, mentioning Barrie police, city firefighters, paramedics and even the Barrie courthouse.
“I want to give better budgets for them so they can expand (their services),” he said.
But in the same breath, Haverson says he wants to keep property taxes stable.
“There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done,” he said, mentioning Memorial Square in downtown Barrie.
“All the drug addicts and they’re leaving syringes around,” Haverson added. “I would like to have a security team that sits there at night to make sure no one sleeps on them (the benches) and puts graffiti on the memorials. I just want things to change to look nicer for all of us.”
How he would do all of this, even as mayor, is still being determined.
“I’m very, very new to this. I’m getting a lot of different ideas from other people,” Haverson said. "Basically what I want to do is hear everything from the community. I want to go door-to-door, I want to speak to people. I want to have everything set up so I’m able to talk to people, hear exactly what they want changed around here.”
The Oct. 24 city vote will determine the next Barrie mayor, 10 ward councillors and school board trustees.
The nomination period for candidates closes Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.
For more information on the city election, click here.