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Fort Smith mayor running for MLA

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 27, 2007

FORT SMITH - A fascinating battle is shaping up between arguably the two most popular politicians in Fort Smith.

Peter Martselos, who is into his fourth term as mayor, will seek to become MLA for Thebacha in the upcoming territorial election.

NNSL Photo/Graphic
Peter Martselos

"I'm running," Martselos told News/North last week.

In doing so, he will be facing Michael Miltenberger, who has been MLA since 1995.

"I hope it's going to be an interesting and a good race," Martselos said.

The mayor said he will officially inform town council about his decision to run for MLA at an Aug. 28 meeting and his plan to take a month's leave of absence from the municipality.

"If I win, I will resign as mayor," he said.

Deputy Mayor Pat Burke will fill in as mayor until the territorial election is decided.

Martselos, who has been mayor for over 10 years, is in the first year of his latest three-year term.

"I've been working as mayor for a long time and I have decided to work for the community on the territorial level," he said, adding his municipal experience will help him create opportunities for Fort Smith and its residents.

Martselos said he was asked by many people in the community to run for MLA.

"I've always listened to my constituents and I decided to let my name stand."

Miltenberger said there had been rumours for months that the mayor might run.

"This is my fourth election," the MLA said. "Nothing surprises me in Fort Smith. I'm the incumbent and you have better take on all the challengers, whoever they may be."

Miltenberger said he doesn't know if other people will run, but added there have been many names floating around the community for the past few months.

"I've been elected three times," he noted.

"I'm going to run the same campaign that we've done every time, which is to get the high ground and run on our record."

The people will decide what the experience of the candidates is worth and who can do the job best, the former cabinet minister said. "It will come down to that."

Miltenberger served on Fort Smith town council from 1983-89, including two and a half years as mayor.