In a historic vote for change, Tina Williams has been elected as Virden’s first female head of council. Williams won a landslide victory over incumbent mayor Murray Wright. The results for council elections came to a waiting crowd at about 10:20 p.m.
A rejoicing Williams said of her win, “Obviously, people think I could do a good job.”
She's a people person she says and said she was out and about and made contact with voters on the street. She said her commitment to the strategic and revitalization plans for the town seemed to resonate with her supporters.
For the At Large council vote, only two incumbents were elected and four are new electees this term, however, Bruce Dunning is experienced, having served on council and as mayor some 10 years ago. Although Williams has in her back pocket two-terms as a councillor she acknowledges there will be a learning curve for herself and all of council.
Confident and eager Williams says, “I decided I could do it before I decided to run.”
It’s a move to a different chair. “All it means is that you’re head of council. A mayor doesn’t have any more power than any single councillor. You still have to vote on things. Your job is to run the meeting.
“Publicly you do more things, just because you’re the head of council, but as far as decisions and things, you’re just a member of council, and you have to remember that.”
Female councillor Whitney Wright did not run again, but two women, Jessie Cruickshank and Lynette Grumpelt, are among the newly elected council seats.
“Now we have four female members of council…” says Williams. “This is the most women we’ve ever had on council.”
At the November 1st council meeting a new council will commit to their responsibilities, taking an oath of office to officially become the new Town of Virden Council.
VIRDEN Council members ELECTED:
Tina Williams received 502 votes with a 63.45 % majority
Councillors elected in At Large voting, showing the number of votes and percentage of votes:
Travis Penner – 592 votes, (incumbent)
Bruce Dunning – 520 votes
Marc Savy – 510 votes
Tara Cowan – 491 votes, (incumbent)
Jessie Cruickshank – 473 votes
Lynette Grumpelt – 433 votes
The Statement of Official Results shows a significant drop in voter participation with only 32 % of eligible voters going to the poll as opposed to approximately 44% last election in 2018.