Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis won't seek re-election in this year's municipal election — instead, he wants to get on the territorial ballot. Curtis says he'll forgo running for a fourth term as mayor because he wants the Liberal nomination in Whitehorse Centre, the riding currently held by NDP MLA Liz Hanson. Hanson announced earlier this month that she won't run again. Curtis was first elected mayor in 2012, and easily won reelection in 2015 and 2018. "I've enjoyed every second, every minute of it," he said. "But I really think that the lessons that I've learned over the last almost nine years would be very beneficial to help, you know, help be part of that voice, to carry on the great work that continues to happen and has happened." Curtis has run as a Liberal before. In the 2011 territorial election, he ran in Riverdale South and finished third behind the NDP and Yukon Party candidates. Jan Stick of the NDP won the seat. The 2011 election was not a good one for Yukon's Liberals — they were reduced from five seats to two in the legislative assembly, as Darrell Pasloski's Yukon Party formed the government and the Hanson-led NDP replaced the Liberals as Official Opposition. Now, Curtis is aiming to join the governing party as it seeks re-election. He says he likes what Sandy Silver's government has done over the last few years. The next territorial election must be called by Nov. 18, 2021, so Curtis says there's a chance he'll be able to see out the end of his term as mayor this fall before a territorial campaign begins. But an earlier territorial election would complicate things. Under Yukon's Municipal Act, council members are disqualified from being on council once they are elected as an MLA. Of course, Curtis's first hurdle is to win the Liberal nomination in Whitehorse Centre — a longtime NDP stronghold. Three people have already announced they would seek the NDP nomination there this year: Emily Tredger, Amy Labonte, and Kaori Torigai. Curtis said he wanted to announce his intentions now to allow ample time for others to consider running for mayor. In the meantime, he's not overly concerned about any perceived conflicts between his role as mayor and his party-political aspirations. "I'm very conscious and very, very aware that there'll be some thinking that perhaps it's a tightrope. And I've always walked that rope quite well," he said. "I'll be very, very cautious to ensure that we continue to do what we've done, in the sense of being very accountable and very, very transparent." Other councillors not too concerned City councillor Jan Stick — the former NDP MLA who defeated Curtis in his first territorial campaign — says she was surprised to hear of Curtis' plans. She's not too concerned about potential conflicts while he carries on as mayor. "I'm sure that potential exists. And again, I think that's something the mayor would be aware of and that councillors would would also be aware of, and watching for." Councillor Samson Hartland, who also unsuccessfully ran in the 2011 territorial election under the Yukon Party banner, echoes Stick's comments. He was also surprised by Curtis's announcement. "The perception piece is something to be aware of. And I'm sure he is. "Suffice to say, I know that all of us take our roles very, very seriously, and work hard to to serve on behalf of all Whitehorse citizens — regardless of how or what affiliation they have." Dawson City mayor Wayne Potoroka says it's not uncommon for Yukon politicians to wear several hats, and have to manage perceived conflicts in their roles. Besides being mayor, Potoroka is also communications director for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation. "Sometimes it's not always about whether you're in an actual real conflict of interest. It's sometimes what that perception might be, and people's perception of your ability to do your job," he said. "We all deal with that. Every single municipal councillor in the territory deals with that."