Robert McCormack did his homework for the Our HRM Alliance Debate on September 19. Before the debate, he was reading up on their policies to make sure he was well-versed on the issues plaguing HRM.
Fast-forward to the debate: McCormack made a few solid points throughout the night, but his frequent "umm"s and "uhh"s detracted to the point of, well, distraction, and the other candidates' polish seemed to outshine his enthusiasm for helping create a better Halifax.
He sure does have a lot of enthusiasm, though. "I love this city. I love HRM so, so much. So far the campaign has been amazing---it's been so great to meet so many new people and hear their ideas for the city."
McCormack is one of the late additions to the mayoral race, along with Aaron Eisses and Steve Mackie. McCormack says he entered the race because he wanted to see the city thrive. "I wasn't totally happy with all of the candidates who had gone forward. I talked about it with my family and friends for a few months and really wanted to make sure it was the right decision, and when it came down to it it was the right decision for me at the time."
He's running---at least for this debate---on a platform of revitalizing the downtown core and focusing on transit connections in the inner city. "We need to change the city core's structure to make it easier for businesses to stay downtown, and we need to work towards building public transit infrastructure," McCormack says.
McCormack might know a thing or two about reworking the downtown system. He graduated from Dal's Industrial Engineering program in 2011. Currently, though, McCormack is working as a dietary aide at Northwood Manor and volunteering with the The Art of Living, an international agency focused on youth development, as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Spryfield.
McCormack says there's no better preparation for the job of mayor than community work. "Bringing people together, fundraising events, doing clothing drives---it's all part of bringing community together to build a better HRM." Another one of his qualifications: Haligonian heritage. "I grew up in Halifax, I went to school here, I went away for school for a bit and returned to finish up my engineering degree at Dal," he says.
During the debate, McCormack is tied with Steve Mackie for most silent, but when he contributes, he seems to have an arsenal of sometimes-questionable statistics he uses and reuses. He seems out of his depths and has his eyes glued to the moderator.
But did we mention his enthusiasm? "There are so many great ideas in the city and so much enthusiasm for the city, I can't help but be buoyed for that enthusiasm. It pushes me forward each day." McCormack is feeling positive: "I feel like I have the drive and energy to do this job."See our other mayoral candidate profiles: