The morning after… First off, the heartiest of congratulations to Councillor Arlene VanderBeek on her successful re-election campaign. I wish her nothing but the best and look forward to her having a strong voice for Dundas and West Flamborough in the mission of city building. I also want to congratulate the other candidates, John Mykytyshyn, Kevin Gray, John Roberts, Gaspare Bonomo and Pamela Mitchell. We are all members of a club that knows what it takes to run in an election campaign and the toll it exacts. There are so many people to thank I am inevitably going to miss a few, at least until I go back and edit this post. First off, thanks to Cathy and the boys for their undying support. (Bigfoot for the Forest. For the Trees.). At the end of the day, I took this on for them and for the future of all children in the Hamilton area. And a massive thank you to my mom, Julie Gelder for her unconditional love and support. She and Cathy are vying for the title of most patient woman alive. Early returns had mom in the lead, but Cathy is quickly closing the gap. And Bill Harse, super-campaigner. I would not have gotten to the end of this campaign without you. Thanks to Jennifer Iachelli, the best campaign CFO and party planner anyone could ask for. And thanks to her family, Carm, Adam (the baker) and Claire for sharing their mom with this campaign for the better part of five months. Thanks to the campaign team of super-canvassers John Campbell, Ken Kenna, Barb Schafer, Val Sarjeant, Marlene Sarjeant, Jean Kirby, Brad Walchuk, Ann Jenkins, Eileen Shannon, Ben Wignall, Lori Gibbons, Tim Legacy, Jones Boateng, Bob Waterhouse, Maneesh Gupta. You all made knocking on 6,000 doors a great deal of fun. And to those who worked so hard behind the scenes: Chantal Mancini, Alice Smith and Mike Belmore who steered this campaign so adeptly. And, although far too numerous to mention here, thank you to everyone who voted, either for me or an opposing candidate, who donated to the effort, took a lawn sign, shared information on social media, had a kind word either on the street, the phone or on Twitter/Facebook. Even the briefest of kind words provided a great jolt of energy when the campaign got tough. When I took on this task, I vastly underestimated the toll it would take on me personally. And that itself is an understatement. I only decided to run after two-three weeks of talking to people, seeking the support of family and ensuring that there was no one else who would champion the issues I am passionate about. These include public transit, LRT, and ending the destructive and artificial divide between urban, suburban and rural Hamilton. I did the best to maintain a clear and consistent message throughout this campaign. As I was quoted in CBC Hamilton, these were hills I was willing to die on. Because, I will always choose authenticity over expedience, for if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. I am proud of the campaign we ran and I have zero regrets. I am at peace. One final thought. I mentioned in a separate post how happy I am about the fact that Hamilton City Council as almost one half – seven out of fifteen – women. Please, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the significance of this and how it is good for city building. I am excited about some of the new faces around the Council table: Nrinder Nann, John Paul Danko, Esther Pauls (darn it, I would love to have helped her start a Council running club!)
But none has me more excited than the addition of Maureen Wilson in Ward 1. I am over the moon about that one!