At 34 consecutive years, Mississauga’s Mayor Hazel McCallion is the longest-serving mayor in Canada. “Hurricane Hazel” has been in the media spotlight a lot lately because her birth date happens to coincide with the outbreak of the War of 1812. Hazel has promised to retire either at the end of this term or when she smashes up another lamp post, whichever comes first.
And Stubbs is the longest-serving mayor of the little town of Talkeetna, Alaska. The 900 residents just love the guy and the vast majority of citizens believe he’s the best mayor they’ve ever had.
“He doesn’t raise our taxes. He doesn’t interfere with business. And he’s honest,” says Laurie Stec, operator of Talkeetna’s general store.
It seems nobody in town has a bad thing to say about the mayor except occasionally he misses his litter box and once he showed up at a council meeting with a mouse in his mouth.
Yes Mr. Stubbs, a fifteen-year-old yellow Manx has been the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for the past fifteen years! He was just a playful little kitten when town voters passed on the human candidates officially posted on the ballot and elected Stubbs in a write-in vote. (Exactly how bleak is your political future when your resume shows you once lost an election to a candidate who cleans himself with his tongue?)
Stubbs likes to be chucked under the chin by his constituents as well and being picked up and cuddled so yeah, he at least has those things in common with the mayor of Mississauga.
With near-unanimous popular support he has not been challenged for the office since 1997. Stubbs might be the only mayor of any town in the world who sheds and scratches himself in public.
Stubbs official residence is Nagley’s General Store where about 40 tourists come by every day for a pet and a celebrity photograph. Not one for the limelight, he tolerates a few gawkers and then retreats to the back lot near the dumpster to sleep. As politics go, Stubbs is the only elected official in the history of politics to take more afternoon naps than Ronald Reagan.
Stubbs looking all of his fifteen years these days has more than 10,000 friends on Facebook. That’s 10,000 friends! Today you couldn’t find 10,000 people in the city of Toronto who would now admit to voting for Mayor Rob Ford. When residents of Toronto were asked in a recent informal survey how they felt about Talkeetna’s four-footed mayor, more than 75% of respondents used the word “jealous” in their response.
Although the election of a cat to the office of mayor may sound like an amazing achievement, let’s remember, it’s Alaska eh? Those people also elected Sarah Palin governor. Given these two democratic abnormalities you can probably count on a young and ambitious Border Collie from Nome becoming the first canine member of the United States Senate.
Apparently Stubbs does not like former Governor Sarah Palin nor her sense of humour. Remember the joke that endeared her to Americans for all of a day and a half? “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!”
No, no, Stubbs will not tolerate pit bull references, in fact he is currently championing a bill that would require all canines to be double-leashed and any dog caught treeing a cat would be garden-hosed in public. While not naming Palin specifically, Stubbs is fond of telling tourists at the general store that he has never ever seen a Russian Blue from his porch.
A crafty legislator, Stubbs has previously legalized Columbian catnip, designated the human lap as public property and started a “treats-on-demand” policy for all cats as well as a free ball of string giveaway program for bored kittens. Stubbs was once charged with assault on a town councilor who dared to bring up the issue of “declawing.”
The Guinness Book of Records lists Stubbs’ rise to mayor as the most mind boggling election in the history of democracy … except of course for George W. Bush’s second term.
One employee at the general store did say that Stubbs can be rather demanding as it gets close to mealtime. Food on demand!?! Wow! The similarities between the mayors of Talkeetna and Toronto are uncanny.
Staff at the general store claim they have actually heard Stubbs laugh out loud while watching his favourite sport on TV – several hundred stupid canines hauling humans from Anchorage to Nome for 12 days straight. They say when Stubbs hears the word “mush” he falls off the couch in a fit of laughter.
“He’s good. Probably the best we’ve ever had,” says Laurie Stec, owner of the general store and therefore Stubbs owner as well. Plus he’s saved Talkeetna residents thousands of dollars by not flying off to that annual meeting of American mayors where he would be a real curiosity figure but not much of a keynote speaker.
House pets as political leaders – could we do any worse?
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