Aaron Eisses looks out of place in the posh lobby of the Lord Nelson in flip-flops. While other candidates tighten their ties and prepare for the debate schmoozing under chandelier-clad ceilings, Eisses takes off his rain pants, and reveals an aloe plant-coloured green t-shirt and pulls a wrinkled hoodie out of a knapsack.
"I grew up on a farm just outside of Truro," says Eisses, referring to a dairy farm in Masstown. "I went to Dal, and studied computer science. I worked for Notel for five years. I took a layoff package from when I got sick of that and went back to the farm, and then travelled for five years."
At 35 years old, Eisses ran unsuccessfully for leadership of the Green Party of Nova Scotia in 2007.
Then, in 2009, Eisses got his hands on an iPhone for the first time and went out the following day to buy a MacBook. What began as writing code for simple iPhone apps in his spare time evolved into returning to Halifax in 2010, and creating his own full-time job.
He now believes the combo of his political background and farming youth grants him an unusual perspective on becoming mayor of Halifax.
"I have a passion for the environment," he says. "I am a transit rider in Halifax. I walk and ride around the city. The environmental voice would be good. I am not bad at speaking, and I enjoy doing it. I have a lot of good ideas."
Eisses hopes to make significant changes to Metro Transit, including more buses and more effective routes. He also wants to consider implementing a rail transit system sometime in the future.
"If I was mayor I would like a bigger commitment from the population to using transit and a commitment from the city to improving transit," he says.
Eisses doesn't own a car, and takes the bus from Quinpool Road out to Bedford for his daily commute. He enjoys the time by reading the paper and keeping abreast of politics. He's not one to sit still for too long.
When it came time to think of ways to spend his vacation, he figured, why not run for mayor?
"I like adventure," he says. "Everybody likes adventure, and this is a bit of an adventure."
He considers growing up on a farm his greatest strength. It taught him about the environment, and how we interact with it. He feels Halifax could benefit from an agricultural philosophy.
"It gave me a very a unique perspective on how the climate is changing," he says. "On farms we depend on the weather. People ask me, 'Do you know what the weather is going to be like next year?' 'Well, the Almanac says this.'
"Where most of us live in a city, weather is just an inconvenience. When it's sunny, it's nice. When it's raining, it's not. When you grow up on the land like I did, weather is what matters," he continues. "It is the only thing that stops you and gets you going. There are good years and bad years. And that all depends on the weather."See our other mayoral candidate profiles:
Robert (Wesley) McCormack