Bushman eyes Williams Lake mayor’s chair

John Bjornstrom was in the news more than a decade ago when he was on a two-year run from police in the Shuswap.

John Bjornstrom

John Bjornstrom

The race for mayor in Williams Lake could be interesting, particularly now that the former Bushman of the Shuswap has announced he plans to run.

John Bjornstrom, 54, said Tuesday he wanted to run in 2011, but missed filing his papers in time. He doesn’t intend to make that mistake this time around.

Bjornstrom was in the news more than a decade ago when he was a fugitive on a two-year run from police after stealing from cabins in the Shuswap.

Mounties finally arrested him in November 2001 after posing as members of a documentary film crew. Bjornstrom was later sentenced to 23 months of house arrest after pleaded guilty to charges including breaking-and-entering.

He admitted his reputation as the Bushman will most likely come up during the campaign.

“Things happen in life and you either move on or drown dwelling in it,” he said. “I can either use it to my benefit. Everything you’ve done in life does comes along and either bites you or blesses you.”

Bjornstrom said he probably looks at things differently than a lot of people with a regular platform, however, he believes he can do a good job and be good for people.

So far he’s had no experience inside the political arena, and described his foray into running for mayor as an adventure.

“City politics has always interested me because it’s about helping your town move forward,” he said.

Ever since he posted his intent to run for mayor on his Facebook page on Sept. 10. the story has been picked up by national news outlets.

“It’s gone crazy,” he said. “Tonight I am supposed to be interviewed by Global News at city hall.”

Bjornstrom has been living in Williams Lake since 2002, although he attended high school here back in the 1970s. He hauls logs back and forth from Williams Lake to Anahim Lake.

So far two other candidates are in the race — present councillor Surinderpal Rathor and Mayor Kerry Cook.