Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves unveiled his vision for the city at his first official campaign event Monday night — but there were fewer than 20 people to hear it.

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Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves unveiled his vision for the city at his first official campaign event Monday night — but there were fewer than 20 people to hear it.

The lawyer and former city councillor appeared unfazed by the turnout, saying he has been meeting with groups of voters, both big and small, for six months ago.

"Sometimes you're surprised by the numbers, either good or bad. Weather is always a factor. Driving here (in the rain), I thought, 'We'll be expecting a smaller crowd,' " Steeves said.

"But honestly, tonight wasn't really about a crowd. What I wanted to do was publicly get our campaign direction out there, get our priorities in front of people so they can reflect on them and start developing that sense of who we are, who I am as a person, who we are as a campaign and where we're going."

His campaign website listed the event's start time as 6 p.m., one hour earlier than it actually began.

Steeves unveiled his five priorities -- accountable governance, downtown, transportation infrastructure, the economy and taxation, and safe communities.

He said he's bullish about the city's future, but knows there are significant challenges.

"People expect their civic government to go back to the basics and refocus on core services. There is a sense that we have gotten away from that, away from the pipes and the pavement," he said.

Steeves said he has no idea whether Sam Katz will run for re-election, but he doesn't know if it will affect his campaign.

"I didn't think so, but there are times when I think so. I have no better intelligence than anybody else in this world," he said.

Steeves said he will slow down his law practice by September and begin campaigning full time. The election is Oct. 22.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca