THUNDER BAY -- Bill Mauro has his sights set on becoming the city's top elected municipal official.
Mauro, the former 15-year provincial representative for the Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding, on Thursday confirmed that he will be entering the Thunder Bay mayoral race.
"There's a lot at risk going into the next four years as a city and that's kind of what put me over the top," Mauro said, adding he is concerned the city might not see the same level of investment under the new Progressive Conservative provincial government as had been the case when his Liberals were in power, which resulted in promises for full cardiovascular surgery, a new jail and transit funding for Toronto that led to jobs at the local Bombardier plant.
"One or two major decisions or non-decisions by Queen's Park could have some very serious negative consequences for Thunder Bay."
Mauro, who held responsibility for the natural resources and forestry and municipal affairs ministries while in the Ontario legislature, said he isn't going to pretend to have the ability to completely change any of those outcomes but insisted his background puts him in a position to fight for the city.
"You need to be able to make your case. It's not unlike a lot of the work I did while in government. You don't always win everything, even when you're in government. You still have to fight for your piece of turf," Mauro said.
"It's not necessarily easy. The senior levels of government, the federal government included, have their own guiding principles of what they think is important or what they may or may not continue to do but we need to be speaking with one voice and putting our best foot forward."
Prior to his Queen's Park career, Mauro had served as a Thunder Bay city councillor for Northwood from 1997 to 2003. He then transitioned to provincial politics, serving four terms from 2003 until his June 7 loss to the NDP's Judith Monteith-Farrell.
Mauro said he took some time in the weeks since and it was community support that convinced him to take a shot at the mayor's seat.
"It really was people reaching out to me. I have had a number of people from different parts of our community who have reached out to me and very much encouraged me to try and do this," Mauro said. "That was encouraging. That was what really got me back thinking about it."
Mauro will be up against incumbent councillors Iain Angus and Frank Pullia, along with a large field of challengers including Shane Judge, Kevin Cernjul, Mariann Sawicki, Ron Chookomolin, Peter Panetta, Jim Gamble and Ed Hailio.
The nomination window for candidates closes at 2 p.m. on Friday. The municipal election will be held on Oct. 22.