Smith becomes first female mayor
History was made here on Dec. 5, as the town elected Lois Smith as its first-ever female mayor.
The veteran town councillor was victorious in a four-way battle that saw her garner 430 votes, a solid majority over former mayor Stanford Blenkhorn's 275. Ron Levy received 46 votes, while second-time candidate Joel Smith picked up 13.
"I'm elated, absolutely," said Mrs. Smith, at the Parrsboro Fire Hall moments after the count was finished.
Although she had always received strong voting support when running for council, this was her first time running for mayor, in a contest where vote-splitting could have affected the outcome. It was a vote-split that made the 2008 election very close, but it did not appear to be a factor this time around.
Mrs. Smith said she was not sure what the deciding factor was, but did not believe it was her gender.
"I really don't think it was the female thing," she said. "I worked hard. Perhaps it was just the continuous 12 years (on council), and just moving into another position."
Blenkhorn, who saw his support slip from the 331 votes he received a year ago, thanked those ardent supporters who have always been behind him. He said he was not angry or upset with the result, and said he knew he was behind after the advance polls.
He said that he lost because the election became a popularity contest, quoting Winston Churchill, saying "democracy is not the best, but just the best way we have right now to choose our leaders."
"At this point in our history, she has more friends in the town of Parrsboro than I do," he said. "When you really look at it, she lost the debate, she didn't have a platform to stand on, and she didn't have anything more concrete to say, other than what committees she sat on.
"I knew from the outset, that if I was going to beat her, considering her popularity, that it would have to be a David and Goliath situation," he added. "Unfortunately, David didn't win this time."
Levy said he had no regrets with the experience, thanked those who voted and supported him, and wished all candidates the best. He said he understood the vote-splitting implications of a multi-candidate race, and knows why people voted the way they did.
"It was clear that whoever was to win had to win with a good majority, and a vote for me would have split the votes in most part three ways," he said. "The voters voted to give that majority. I respect that."
A prostate cancer survivor himself, Levy said a priority for him in the New Year would be to start a support group for those dealing with the disease.
Joel Smith, who saw his support drop dramatically from the 82 votes he received a year ago, was upbeat about the result.
"I respect the people's decision and look forward to the efforts by council and mayor over the next three years," he said. "My efforts will be to continue to ensure honest services by our elected representatives for the benefit of Parrsboro's residents."
In the council race, it was Lisa Ward who came out ahead in the five-candidate contest. The Ship's Company Theatre administrator received 190 votes, 17 more than second place finisher Gleneida Canning. Troy Melanson followed close behind with 168 votes, while Lloyd Smith received 131 and Ralph Foster received 81.
"I'm very excited," said Ward, moments after the victory. "I can't wait to jump in and represent the people."
The new mayor and councillor will be sworn in at a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16, prior to the scheduled committee-of-the-whole meeting.