Barnes to seek mayor’s post

Vet­eran Har­bour Grace Mayor Don Coombs not about to go qui­etly

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

Terry Barnes has served no­tice that he’s ready to take on the top elected post in the Town of Har­bour Grace, but the man who has oc­cu­pied the mayor’s chair for nearly 19 years, Don Coombs, says he’s not ready to go away qui­etly, and con­tends he still has some un­fin­ished busi­ness.

Barnes is the deputy mayor, and is com­plet­ing his first term on coun­cil. He was elected with wide­spread sup­port in 2009, top­ping the polls among coun­cil con­tenders with 919 votes.

In a news re­lease is­sued to The Com­pass on June 4, Barnes thanked cit­i­zens for sup­port­ing him in the last elec­tion, and touted his com­mit­ment to coun­cil over the past four years.

The re­lease also con­tained the fol­low­ing state­ment: ”I would like to for­mally an­nounce that I will be seek­ing the mayor’s chair …”

When con­tacted, Barnes said he has learned plenty in his first term, and feels ready to lead the town for the next four years.

He be­lieves de­vel­op­ments such as the new sta­dium, an adult ad­dic­tions cen­tre and a pro­posed ex­pan­sion to a weld­ing and marine ser­vice busi­ness in the town bodes well for the fu­ture. He hopes to lead an ef­fort to at­tract more busi­ness. “Pos­i­tive things are hap­pen­ing,” he said. Barnes em­pha­sized that his can­di­dacy has noth­ing to do with the job be­ing done by the cur­rent mayor.

“He’s done won­der­ful for the town,” Barnes stated. “But I think it’s time for a change.”

Barnes, 47, has lived in Har­bour Grace since his mid-teens, and is a su­per­vi­sor with a ma­jor fish pro­cess­ing com­pany in the prov­ince. He is en­cour­aged by the level of sup­port and en­cour­age­ment he’s re­ceiv­ing, but is not tak­ing any­thing for granted.

“If peo­ple give me the sup­port like last time, I’ll do OK,” he said.

Barnes was un­suc­cess­ful in a bid for coun­cil in 2005, and also con­sid­ered a run for the mayor’s chair more than a decade ago, though he with­drew prior to vot­ing day.

“I love this town, and I de­fend it and pro­mote it when­ever I can,” he said.

‘Step­ping stone’

Mean­while, Mayor Coombs was quick to con­firm he will be once again be on the bal­lot when con­tacted last week, say­ing he wants to see the new sta­dium com­pleted, and con­tinue to tackle sev­eral other is­sues he sees as a pri­or­ity for the town.

Coombs was not sur­prised by Barnes’ an­nounce­ment, say­ing he has been chal­lenged by deputy may­ors in the past, call­ing it a nat­u­ral “step­ping stone” for those who oc­cupy the post.

“I en­cour­age any­body to run. That’s democ­racy,” he said.

Coombs, 57, is em­ployed with the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion Pla­cen­tia Health Foun­da­tion. He was first elected to coun­cil in 1989, and took over as mayor on Jan. 5, 1995. He was chal­lenged for the mayor’s post by for­mer coun­cil­lor and deputy mayor Kathy Tet­ford in 2005 and 2009, but won hand­ily on both oc­ca­sions.

It’s be­lieved that at least one other res­i­dent is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing run­ning for mayor, which is se­lected by a sep­a­rate bal­lot.

There is a dis­tinct buzz in the town about the up­com­ing elec­tion, and Coombs is en­cour­aged by the level of in­ter­est.

“I’ve heard a lot of names, some good qual­ity names, on the street. I en­cour­age them all to come for­ward,” he said.

He’s also aware that his re-elec­tion is by no means a guar­an­tee.

“Some peo­ple have joined forces to lobby against me, and that’s fine There are peo­ple who don’t like Don Coombs as mayor and be­lieve I’ve been there too long. But for me it’s noth­ing per- sonal, and I’m just hop­ing for a clean elec­tion and I wish (Terry) all the best.”

Mean­while, Coun. David Mur­phy con­firmed last week he will be seek­ing re-elec­tion. At­tempts to reach other mem­bers of coun­cil, in­clud­ing coun­cil­lors Wen­dell E. Hunt, Joan Short, Al­bert “Bud” Chafe and Wal­ter R. Walsh were un­suc­cess­ful.

Har­bour Grace Mayor Don Coombs, pic­tured here dur­ing a Novem­ber 2012 coun­cil meet­ing, will face a chal­lenge from the deputy mayor, Terry Barnes, in Septem­ber’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

Terry Barnes, the deputy mayor of the Town of Har­bour Grace, an­nounced last week he will chal­lenge for the mayor’s chair in Septem­ber’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

Coun. David Mur­phy was first elected to the Har­bour Grace town coun­cil in 2003. He con­firmed last week he will seek re-elec­tion in Septem­ber.

Coun. Wal­ter R. Walsh could not be reached last week, but Walsh has stated in the past he will not seek re­elec­tion in Septem­ber.

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