Klein kicks off mayoral campaign

·3 min read

If he wins the keys to the Winnipeg mayor’s office, Kevin Klein says developing more parks, staffing Transit buses with security officers, and ending closed-door city council meetings at 510 Main St. will be at the top of his agenda.

A career businessman, who has spent the last four years building his reputation as an outspoken councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, Klein unveiled the key pillars in his campaign for the City of Winnipeg’s top job Wednesday.

During an afternoon event at Assiniboine Park, Klein told a crowd of roughly 75 they would get a safer and greener Winnipeg if they vote for him and he’s successful in the Oct. 26 election.

“If this is what you really, really want in your city — if you want to be proud of your city, if you want to be comfortable taking the bus… This is your election, and this is your chance,” said Klein, flanked by his wife.

Late last week, Klein became the 13th registered candidate to enter the crowded mayoral race. Mayor Brian Bowman is not seeking a third term.

Darren Dunn (chief executive officer of Assiniboia Downs), Larry McIntosh (who recently retired from Peak of the Market’s helm) and Baljinder Bhumber (president of the Ramgarhia Association of Manitoba) were among the prominent Winnipeggers who publicly endorsed Klein’s campaign.

Accountability, alongside “real leadership” and safe neighbourhoods, is one of his campaign priorities, Klein said.

In order to improve transparency, the councillor said he would provide quarterly updates to the public on ongoing projects, hire an “official council information officer” who would share any mayoral finance information to councillors upon their request, and resume a requirement for the public service to disclose a cost-benefit analysis for all projects.

Klein indicated he wants to disband council’s executive policy committee and implement zero-based budget reviews.

The mayoral candidate also noted the city needs “a different approach” to replace the existing Winnipeg Police Board; Klein resigned as board chairman in 2020, citing his limited power and inability to get anything done.

Before Klein took to the stage Wednesday, Rob Carver, a longtime city police officer who is helping organize the campaign, called the candidate “a man of common sense” in a brief speech.

“It takes a leader to change minds. It takes a leader to go through and cut the red tape. It takes somebody with experience, that understands and has been within your city administration for the last four years to appreciate that the system is broken,” said David Howard, CEO of Homes for Heroes Foundation, which builds housing for military veterans who are homeless.

Howard said his organization was nearly ready to give up on Winnipeg after two years of jumping through hoops to get approval, at the same time as other cities were keen to join forces. Then he met Klein and the councillor made it his mission to support Homes for Heroes.

The organization is now slated to build and open a local development in 2023 — a highlight of Klein’s four-year term and a move he claims will “eradicate veteran homeless in Winnipeg, period.”

Klein said he is proud of advocating to add 1,000 acres of greenspace within city limits over the next 25 years, approving more than 100 development projects, and relentlessly raising concerns about secrecy at city hall.

Sherry Mooney was among the constituents who showed up to the event Wednesday.

“I’m excited about the prospect of him being mayor. I’m also a little apprehensive about who will replace him as our city councillor, because he’s done an excellent job,” said Mooney, adding she has been impressed by Klein’s commitment to helping the Charleswood Senior Centre find a new home.

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press

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