Downtown barber and Laurier Brantford student Martin Sitko is running for Brantford city council.

“I think I could help both the downtown and this ward,” Sitko said. “I understand the economics of owning property downtown, the ups and downs, the help to the economy from the influx of students. I go to Laurier, so I’ve seen both sides.”

Sitko has been a part-time student at Laurier – pursuing a double major in contemporary studies and criminology – for five years. He sees Laurier’s growth as a positive for Brantford.

“Before Laurier came, Brantford was still a city feeling the effects of the Massey collapse,” he explained. “A lot of the young people at that time, once they would leave Brantford to go to university, they would never come back. Having the young crowd here, as part of my platform I’d want to work with council to try to get those jobs here. If you look at it as an economic model, the kids are already here, and that’s the group you want to get to stay in the city.”

Sitko, who is also running on themes of honesty and accountability, credits his customers at Sitko Hair as a major factor in his decision to run – they’d been suggesting it for “quite a long time,” he said.

Economic development is one of the biggest campaign issues for Sitko, 35. “I would like to work with the economic development department in city hall to try to bring jobs to the city,” he said. “Professional jobs, both in the public sector and the private sector.”

When it comes to the creation of new jobs, Sitko wants to promote entrepreneurship and entice existing companies to relocate to Brantford, but is hesitant about bringing in the biggest companies – “I don’t want to create a situation where Brantford becomes a one-horse town again, like with Massey, and then they dominate the region – and if they close, everybody’s lost.”

Sitko is running in ward one, which includes the downtown as well as the entire west side of the city. Municipal elections will be held on October 25.