Deputy eyes mayor’s seat
Matamata Piako District deputy mayor Jan Barnes is to stand for election as mayor in October.
Her announcement comes a week after long-term Mayor Hugh Vercoe announced he was stepping down to contest one of two seats on the Waikato Regional Council.
Mrs Barnes said until Mr Vercoe’s announcement she had not given any thought to standing for mayor.
‘‘I was happy to continue to support Hugh and to stand again for council,’’ she said.
‘‘However, since Hugh’s decision to retire after 15 years was made public I have been approached by residents throughout the district asking me to consider standing.
‘‘I have been overwhelmed by the approaches and telephone calls, and as a result I have decided to stand for mayor.
‘‘With three years as deputy mayor I understand what the role of mayor entails and I have the skills to lead the district into the future.’’
Mrs Barnes is about to complete nine years on council.
Apart from being deputy to Mr Vercoe, she has previously been chairwoman of the council’s corporate and operations committee.
Her local government experience extends to 12 years, having previously chaired the Matamata Community Board.
Mrs Barnes has represented Matamata Piako District Council on the Waikato regional passenger transport and civil defence committees.
A member of the Matamata public relations committee, Mrs Barnes is a trustee of the Matamata Community Health Shuttle and an elder of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
She is working with police on a family intervention team for the district, based out of Morrinsville.
Outside her council interests, Mrs Barnes is a director of Rex Barnes Engineering, which has operated successfully for the past 35 years.
Mrs Barnes trained as a health professional in the school dental service working for schools around the Matamata Piako District.