The Better Voter Series: Mayoral candidate spotlight
Getting to know Sam Katz
Sam Katz doesn’t want to win the title of Winnipeg’s mayor for the third time because he likes the job.
For him, it’s about more than that.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of liking being mayor,” he said. “I think it’s a matter of thinking you can move the city forward. … I think it’s a matter of believing you have the experience, understanding and the know-how to bring consensus here and I think that’s what I’ve learned in the private life.”
The life the 59-year-old Israeli immigrant refers to is using his University of Manitoba education in economics to found multiple businesses in the private sector over the years such as a retail clothing store as well as club and concert promotion through Nite Out Entertainment and Showtime Productions.
His companies drew acts like Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones as well as Broadway shows to the city.
Notably, he was the CEO and president of the Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Club from 1994 until he was elected mayor in a by-election in 2004.
Katz has found that his rich history in the business community has helped him become an effective mayor over the past six years.
“When you’re running a city with a $1.2 billion budget, if you don’t have an understanding of financial statements, of economics … sometimes it’s hard to make major decisions and if you don’t know what you normally do know then you just rely on whatever the administration says.
“For me it’s our job as elected officials to challenge and motivate and inspire them and sometimes show them how to do things differently and do them better.”
With two daughters aged five and nine, Katz stresses his goals include making Winnipeg a city that retains youth, provides attractive employment and investment opportunities and overall is a place his girls will want to live.
“I think you have to understand what really makes the city go and small business is the economic engine of our city,” he said.
Stating matter-of-factly that he has never been a card-carrying member of any political party, Katz makes it clear he gave up a comfortable life in the private sector because he believes his role as mayor is a way to give back to those who call the city home.
“The only boss you have is the taxpayers and the citizens,” he said. “Your job is to fight for them.”
Katz talks about why he never participates in debates at the University of Winnipeg in Kristy Rydz’s latest blog entry. Read it at www.uniter.ca/blog/entry/4946
Published in Volume 65, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 21, 2010)