Tofino mayor Josie Osborne has earned another four years at the helm of her community.
Osborne received 792 votes, earning a decisive 85 per cent of the total votes cast and besting challengers Jarmo Venalainen, 69 votes, and Omar Soliman, 52 votes.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to serve my community for another four years,” Osborne told the Westerly News after the results came in around 8:50 p.m. Saturday night.
Having run unopposed in both a 2013 byelection and 2014 general election, Osborne said she was happy to have challengers for the first time and be part of the municipal campaign trail that wrapped up on Oct. 20’s general voting day.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to receive my first ‘real’, if you will, mandate and to have had the opportunity to participate in the campaign and the election. I’m really grateful to everybody who stepped forward to run,” she said.
She added that she valued having her ideas, policies and values questioned during the campaign.
“I feel that my challengers did exactly that,” she said. “I hope that they’ll stay involved in municipal politics and I’m looking forward to the next four years.”
— Josie Osborne (@Josie_Osborne) October 21, 2018
She believes the community saw her as an experienced team-builder who could work with a council that was guaranteed to have at least three new members as Cathy Thicke, Greg Blanchette and Ray Thorogood did not run for re-election.
All three incumbent councillors who ran for Tofino’s six council seats were re-elected as Al Anderson, 482 votes, Dorothy Baert, 377 votes, Duncan McMaster, 418 votes, retained their seats. They will be joined by three newcomers to council: Tom Stere, 657 votes, Britt Chalmers, 608 votes, and Andrea McQuade, 583 votes.
Osborne said seeing all the incumbents who ran get re-elected shows the community is confident in the leadership it has received over the past term.
“It’s a vote of confidence,” she said. “And, to see three skilled new people sit at the table with us is the right balance, in my opinion, of new ideas, fresh perspectives, with the experience of the incumbents. I think we’re going to have a great four years…We’ve got three excellent new voices at the table.”
She said she is familiar with Stere, McQuade and Chalmers and does not believe council will skip a beat heading into their new term.
“I’m very confident in their abilities and I do not think it’s going to take us that much time to get up to speed and move forward as a team,” she said.
Tofino cast 929 votes in the 2018 municipal election, from 1,411 registered voters, which represents a significant leap in participation from 2014’s election where 519 votes were cast, from an estimated 1,493 eligible voters.
Through its Facebook page, the District of Tofino suggested 929 is a record turnout for the community.
This story is being updated