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Sudbury Mayor's race heats up as Bartolucci ponders running

Former cabinet minister says he'll decide by the end of the week
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Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger might be going up against a high-profile name in October's municipal election.

Former Ontario cabinet minister and Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci said Monday he's been approached to come out of retirement to run for mayor, and he's thinking about it.

"I've been approached by several groups and lots of individuals, asking me if I would consider it," he said in a phone interview. "I told them I was honoured and would consider it.

"I've reached out to different people, discussed it with my family. But to be quite honest, I haven't made a decision yet."

Bartolucci, 74, retired from provincial politics before the 2014 provincial election. He was an alderman in the former Region of Sudbury and was elected Liberal MPP in 1995. He was minister of Northern Development and Mines in 2003 in the government of Premier Dalton McGuinty. He also served as minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

He came close to losing the 2011 provincial election as the McGuinty government sagged in the polls, and was not close to Kathleen Wynne, who succeed McGuinty as Liberal premier. He announced he was leaving politics in February 2013.

But after a few years of retirement, Bartolucci said he still has a passion for Sudbury and the desire to get involved.

"Do I want to help my city grow? Yes,” he said. “Am I used to 12-hour days? Yes. Do you I want to go back to 12-hour days? I'm not sure."

Part of the decision is the impact politics has on his family. Bartolucci said politics is all consuming, and his wife and family have already made sacrifices over the years. What does his family think? 

"There's an awful lot of dialogue going on,” he said. “My family knows how much I love this city. And they know I don't do anything half-assed. It would be full out.

"The decision, honestly, is a big one for me. I gave 20 years to provincial politics, 10 years to municipal politics. I know the incredible time commitment that is necessary."

Bartolucci had planned to decided last week, but now he says he'll make up his mind by the end of this week, at the latest. But there's no doubt in his mind he still has the passion for the job.

"When you have passion for your city, the fire in the belly is always there."
 




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