Andrea Roberts scores big win in Dysart
|By Joseph Quigley - Editor | Oct. 25, 2018|
For the first time in more than four decades, Dysart et al will have a new person sitting in the mayor’s chair after voters elected Andrea Roberts to the position.
Roberts took 57.82 per cent of the vote in her victory over incumbent Murray Fearrey, with 3,445 votes of a total 5,958 ballots cast, according to the Dysart et al election results report.
Roberts, who has served the past 12 years on council and was deputy mayor last term, ended Fearrey’s 40-year tenure as mayor. She said her combination of experience and personality made her campaign successful.
“Ì had the right combination of experience on council and personality to take Dysart maybe in a slightly different direction than we’ve been in,” Roberts said in an interview. Fearrey, who garnered 2,513 votes, said a result like this after a long campaign makes a person feel badly, but he respects the people’s decision. “I know the electorate has spoken and I’ve been around politics a long time and I accept their decision,” Fearrey said.
Fearrey said he needs to take time to decide what is next for him, but he looks back positively on all he has accomplished in more than 40 years on council.
“I think I’ve had a lot of success. Others may not agree with that, but practically every project that’s happened, and there’s a number of major ones I think, I’ve had my fingerprints on them. I feel good about the past,” Fearrey said. “I have no fear of saying I think I’ve done the best job that I could.”
Wendy Vermeersch helped with Roberts’s campaign and said it was time for change in Dysart et al. “Murray (Fearrey) has done great work over the years but it was time for a change and we needed some new blood in that municipal office,” she said.
New faces, incumbents make up council With all seven seats contested, four challengers and three incumbents were elected. Deputy-mayor elect Patrick Kennedy and councilors Larry Clarke and John Smith are new. incumbents Nancy Wood-Roberts, Tammy Donaldson and Walt McKechnie are returning. Kennedy, who ran for office for the first time against council incumbent Dennis Casey, attributed his successful campaign to social media and his questionnaire responses. He added he’s humbled by the support he’s received and is looking forward to getting to work.
“I’m hoping to sit down with Mayor Roberts and we’ll come up with a platform,” he said. “We all have lots of priorities and I’m just part of a team and whatever’s decided as a group I’m more than happy to push forward.”
Roberts said the new council will have plenty of business as the municipality quickly enters into budget deliberations. “I’d like to open that up a bit more. The last few years I’ve been on council, the budget deliberations have not been as broad scope as they could be. That’s going to be a big deal for the new councillors on board to see what it’s like to go into the budget session,” Roberts said.
Roberts said she hopes to have a goal setting and orientation session in early December and wants to be a guide for the newly-elected council.
“I want to hear from everybody. My idea for the mayor is you’re the head of the table, you’re the guide, but not necessarily the one that has a brilliant idea or to control everything. You’re the one to help bring out the best in everybody else.”
Joseph Quigley is a staff writer for The Highlander.