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Victoria city councillor plans to run for NDP nomination

Oct 02 2012
Ben Isitt was elected to Victoria council last year. 

Ben Isitt was elected to Victoria council last year.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

First-term Victoria councillor Ben Isitt is joining the race to be the New Democratic candidate to replace retiring Victoria MP Denise Savoie.

Isitt, 34, said Monday that some supporters offered to join the party to support him after seeing his performance on council. "So I've decided to throw my name in the race," he said.

He joins businesswoman and former NDP MLA Elizabeth Cull, environmental law expert Murray Rankin and Victoria school-board trustee Charley Beresford in seeking the NDP nomination.

The NDP will choose its candidate Oct. 14.

"What I was hearing from people is they wanted a young person in the race. They thought it was valuable to have an elected official in the race," Isitt said.

He said Savoie left "pretty big footsteps to fill."

"The MP from Victoria can provide a conscience for the party and also, I think, a conscience for the country. I'm not yet convinced the other candidates in the field have that unwavering commitment to social justice and doing politics differently."

Isitt was first elected to Victoria council in November 2011, campaigning on a platform to make city hall open and cost-effective.

When Savoie announced she was stepping down, at least two other members of Victoria council - Mayor Dean Fortin and Coun. Marianne Alto - were thought to be potential candidates. Both, however, have ruled out running.

The federal Victoria riding has been held by the NDP for the past five years.

A byelection date has not yet been set by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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