Danny Breen came out on top of the Mayoral race Tuesday night in St. John’s, winning with
53.19% of the vote. Breen ran a successful race against former mayor, Andy Wells, and the young candidate Renée Sharpe. His platform focused around lowered taxes, energy and cost efficiency and community-building. He also highlighted the importance of listening to and supporting students, stating in his platform, “Students are on the cusp of making major contributions to the economy and society, and City Hall needs to be better engaged with these individuals before they graduate. As Mayor I will work directly with them to make the city better for them, and for all residents.”
Joining him in office will be Sheilagh O’Leary, to no surprise. O’Leary ran unchallenged for
much of the race, but defeated sole competitor Michelle Worthman handily, acquiring 84.21% of the vote. A message of community and togetherness resonated through her twitter statement: “Such #gratitude to residents for their phenomenal support in electing me as the next Deputy Mayor @CityofStJohns #volunteersrock #community”.
This will be a new mayoral partnership for St. John’s, as the city welcomes lots of new change into the municipal government. Going forward, council will look a lot younger and a lot more gender-balanced. The new council is almost an even male to female split, consisting of six men and five women; a fact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged via twitter yesterday, stating “Another positive step towards gender equality. Congratulations to everyone elected in St. John’s!”
Sheilagh O’Leary, Maggie Burton, Hope Jamieson, Deanne Stapleton and Debbie Hanlon were all elected, breaking the record number of women on council. A council that has for many years been labelled as an “old boys’ club” has seen drastic change throughout this municipal election, change which many citizens and candidates are excited about. Ian Froude, newly elected councillor for Ward 4, had this to say about the results: “I am stoked to serve on this City Council. And I am proud of our City’s residents in choosing so many passionate female leaders”. Mayoral candidate Renée Sharpe also expressed optimism towards the city’s future despite her loss, stating via Twitter, “I just ran for mayor, and we have 5 incredible women elected to city council. WE DID IT. Thank you St. John’s!”
Maggie Burton and Debbie Hanlon will be joined as councillors at Large by Dave Lane and
Sandy Hickman. Burton stressed the importance of learning from her more experienced peers, stating “I have a lot of people to listen to and learn from, starting with the more experienced councillors: Mayor Breen, Deputy Mayor O’Leary, Cllrs Lane, Hickman, Collins, and Hanlon”.