The slate of councillors on the Village of Ashcroft ballot sheet was extremely strong this election. That was proven during the advance polls, which attracted 417 voters, compared to 331 on Oct. 20.
The top four vote-getters — Jonah Anstett, Deb Tuohey, Nadine Davenport and Marilyn Anderson — were within 44 votes of each throughout most of the evening. Carolee Lizee fell away early in the race, but still had some good support.
It certainly showed they had good support throughout the electorate. Some 55 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.
All four councillors-elect went to the electorate with no municipal government experience, but all of them came with a desire to serve community and voice a willingness to listen to what Ashcroft residents want and need.
Jonah Anstett jumped into an early lead when the ballots were counted, and finished with 610 votes. He said he was surprised when he topped the polls and was “shocked” when he heard the final count.
“It sure was nice to see a response like that from the community.”
The councillor-elect says he wanted to concentrate on the younger generation vote, and he got them to come to the polling station.
“We need the younger generation to get involved, because they’re the ones who are going to have to do the job when the time comes. It is one of my main reasons for running.”
He is pleased with the election results, because everyone has good ideas and the one thing that all of the candidates were saying is it’s time for teamwork. “I think we have a pretty good team to work with here.”
Anstett says one of the strengths he brings to the council table is he will listen to the people of Ashcroft. “I’m approachable and always around. I’m always available on the phone, or people can stop me on the street to talk.”
Noting he is a working guy, Anstett says he’s going to be the voice of working people and young people at the council table.
Deb Tuohey received the second highest number of votes with 542.
“I was definitely happy I won and I’m happy with the council for sure. I would have liked a different result for mayor, but I think we can work together with Barbara … definitely not a problem.”
Tuohey says she will bring a lot of strengths to the council table. “Making people accountable is one of the things, and questioning lots of things. I have a few ideas of things I would like to see done a little bit differently.”
She would like to see more participation, with the community getting more involved.
“More involvement on committees and giving more input. [Council] needs to listen a bit more to what people are saying.”
Tuohey says she would like the Village website to be changed. “We definitely need to change our website,” she adds, with a chuckle.
Nadine Davenport finished third in the polls with 528 votes. She was pleased Anstett was able to attract the young people — 25-35 years — to get involved with the political process.
“I think it’s great our younger folks are getting engaged in our community and learning what politics are all about, too. I was very pleased with the end results and happy to be onboard, and I’m ready to get down to work.”
Davenport says her biggest strengths would be connecting the businesses downtown and being a part of a Chamber of Commerce.
“I imagine council will have a portfolio for that, and there might need to be a rep on the Chamber of Commerce … I’m totally agreeing with that process.”
She says there’s a lot more council could do in terms of marketing Ashcroft, and suggests there should be a portfolio for that, too.
“I think what I bring is the ability to create open discussion and a sense that Ashcroft citizens are being engaged. I think it’s important they know that moving Ashcroft forward is about them participating in its future as well.”
Marilyn Anderson finished with 519 votes.
“I thought [the election] was exciting but daunting at the same time. I am very pleased to be with the new council.”
While she doesn’t have any municipal government experience, Anderson notes she has worked in the provincial government for 13 years in a variety of positions.
As far as the strengths she bringing to the table goes, she says it would be bringing industry to the area, which equates to jobs. “I come from a background in the employment industry prior to working with Work BC.
“If we have jobs available, people will come to the community. Then they pay their taxes and we’ll have a tax base so we can provide more services.”
It all goes hand-in-hand, she adds. “I’ll be looking at the availability of land for not just housing but also bringing industry to the area. That’s what is in my heart.”