Well that didn't take long. Less than two weeks after Guelph MP and presumptive Liberal candidate for the 2015 Federal Election Frank Valeriote announced that he was not going to seek a third term, one well-known member of the Royal City community is exploring the possibility of filling Valeriote's shoes. Although the concept of an exploratory committee is largely an American political phenomenon, former Guelph Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Longfield is hoping to crowd source some feedback as to whether or not he should step up for local Liberals leading in to next year's election.
In a story in today's Guelph Tribune, Longfield talked about his campaign to decide to campaign. Handing out cards that outline his ideals, Longfield explained that he's not yet sure if he's going to run, but he's merely collecting opinion. “I am not campaigning, I am just trying to get input,”he said. “If the community does support it, that helps my decision.”
Longfield served as President of the Chamber from six years from 2008 till when he officially stepped down on November 7. He took a job at Innovation Guelph, but there was some speculation that his resignation at the Chamber was a prelude to a move to politics. The issues Longfield says he'd like to tackle include fostering a strong economy for families and business, sustainable solutions for energy and the environment, social justice, public safety and promoting a respectful dialogue between politicians and constituents and between politicians and each other. Longfield says he'll make a formal decision about his intentions sometime early next month.
In terms of political appeal, Longfield, to use Hollywood parlance, hits all four quadrants. His background in local business, and his impressive knowledge of Guelph history and providing support to various Royal City endeavours should give him a broad base to appeal straight down the middle, and if Liberals across Canada ride the Trudeau wave, he'll be situated all the better. But, Guelph has been Liberal red for 22 years now, might a change from the ordinary be in order? Might a strong Green or NDP candidate be able to make a play for Guelph in 2015? And who might the Conservatives field in the next campaign? All provocative questions as we countdown to next year's Federal campaign.