Five new faces on county council
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
District 2 councillor John Kellegrew welcomes District 1 councillor-elect Don Smith to Cumberland municipal council while Smith’s wife Cheryl looks on. Smith defeated longtime councillor Gerald Read, Edith Helm and Marilyn Thompson to win the district.
UPPER NAPPAN – Cumberland County voters have opted for change defeating three incumbents and welcoming a total of five new faces to the 10-member municipal council.
Gerald Read in District 1, Kathy Redmond in District 6 and John Reid in District 9 all went down to defeat. Read was defeated by West Amherst’s Don Smith in District 1, Bill Baker defeated Redmond in District 6 and Mike McLellan defeated Reid in District 9.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Smith, moments after being declared elected. “I would like to thank Gerald Read for everything he has done for Cumberland County over the years. I’m very happy and looking forward to getting to work.”
Smith said voters told him they wanted a change in the district and a new voice.
Read is pleased with the work he has done on county council over more than two decades.
“I felt I did a great of job of trying to do what I felt was right. I’m disappointed, but life must go on,” Read said. “We had four great candidates in this district and we all tried to do our best.”
Read is proud of what he has accomplished during his tenure, including work on the solid waste management and the new energy authority.
Edith Helm was third in the district and Marilyn Thompson fourth.
“I’m thrilled with how I did. I would have liked to win of course, but I wanted to have a respectable showing,” Helm said.
“There’s change and it was a good competition. It’s good for Cumberland County,” said Thompson, who retired from the school board to run in the district.
Daniel Rector was elected in District 7, defeating Kelly Milner and Bill Park, while Lynne Welton, the wife of former warden the late Ralph Welton, claimed District 5 over former District 4 councillor Kathy Langille.
Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter was re-elected in District 3 over Rod Gilroy and Joe O’Byrne.
“I was worried going into the election because I haven’t had to campaign in a while. I’m happy to be back in and thankful for the voters of this district to renew their confidence in me,” said Hunter, who will let his name stand again for warden when the new council meets for the first time next month.
Hunter said he was surprised with the number of new faces. He paid tribute to Read, Redmond and Reid, saying they’ve done a lot to make Cumberland County a better place over the years.
“I like to think the last council was the best I’ve ever served with,” he said. “I’m hoping the new council will become the best.”
John Kellegrew in District 2, Allison Gillis in District 4, Ernest Gilbert in District 8 and Ratchford Merriam in District 10 were returned by acclamation.
“It’s a big change in the county with five new councillors,” Kellegrew said. “It’s going to take some time to get things going. I’m a little surprised with some of the results, but the voters have the final say.”
Redmond said she is very disappointed in the result in her district.
“I’m really surprised and very disappointed,” she said. “A lot of people who I thought would support me didn’t go out to vote,” she said. “It’s very disappointing.”
Reid said the voters of District 9 opted for change.
“I guess people were ready for a change. I got defeated and I accept it,” said Reid, who served 12 years on council. “I’m very proud of what I did over the last 12 years and there’s very little I would change. It happens to be a new challenger at the right time. I respect the people’s wishes and support the new councillor.”
Adam Davies was elected to the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board over Bernice Vance, while Margaret Nicholson and Mackie Ross were re-elected by acclamation.