The 2017 mayoral race for The City of Red Deer was not expected to be close.
That's exactly how it turned out.
Incumbent Tara Veer easily won a second term as Mayor, defeating challenger Sean Burke by a margin of 16,581 votes to 2,172.
Veer collected more than 88 per cent of the popular vote.
At her campaign headquarters, Veer told the media she’s been given a strong mandate from citizens.
“Over the next 100 days, we’ll be meeting with the new city council, establishing our strategic direction. We’ll take time, meet with each other,” she said. “We will go through what we heard from Red Deerians over the course of the election campaign and prioritize those, develop our strategic direction and come up with our work plan.”
Veer went so far as to say the best is yet to come for Red Deerians.
“I campaigned on community safety, a stronger economy, to protect our built and natural environment, to build community life and advocate for our community needs,” she said. “Over the last term, we certainly were able to prove that you can accomplish a lot in four years."
Though Veer did obtain a high percentage of voter support, turnout to the polls was abysmal at just 30.3 per cent, down from 31.8 in 2013.
Veer admitted she was told during the campaign she’d be fine, low turnout or not, adding it was always important to her regardless because people should exercise their civic right and responsibility.
“There was strong support at the advance polls. I did have some concern with voter turnout for a couple of reasons,” said Veer. “Last election, there was a plebiscite vote and the plebiscite votes often help encourage voter turnout. It’s important your elected officials have a mandate so that we know how best to represent you.”
More than anything, Veer was just grateful for and appreciative of the support shown by citizens.
“The people of Red Deer have been so good to me over many, many years and my life’s purpose is to give back to the people of Red Deer,” she said. “I’m just so honoured to serve this amazing community we call our home.”
For his part, Burke was gracious in defeat.
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