Incumbents give Veer full support
While the majority of the five re-elected city council incumbents openly threw their support behind Cindy Jefferies during the campaign, they say they are ready to work with Red Deer mayor-elect Tara Veer.
Coun. Lynne Mulder was part of the group of new councillors in 2004 that included Veer and Jefferies. During the campaigning for Monday’s election, Mulder made no secret of the fact that Jefferies had her vote for mayor.
But now that the ballots are counted and the election signs are gone, Mulder says Veer has her full support in the mayor’s seat. She said Jefferies will be greatly missed on council.
“I think it is what it is and we have to move forward,” said Mulder on Wednesday. “Certainly Tara has some great ideas and she has experience. We will make the most of it and move forward.”
Mulder said the relationship with Veer wasn’t necessarily contentious but it was a matter of different philosophies, which worked well on council. She said Veer is an outstanding woman who will do great things for the city.
“Hopefully in her role as leader she will work to bring us together,” said Mulder.
Coun. Paul Harris was quite vocal on social media and in person about his support for Jefferies. A list of his endorsed candidates was included in a newsletter distributed before the election. While Harris is disappointed that his good friend did not come out on top, Harris said it’s time to move forward.
“The past is the past and just leave it behind,” said Harris. “You have to focus on what you have today and make it as best as possible.”
Coun. Buck Buchanan was less vocal during the campaign about his support for Jefferies but he did not shy away from his opinions. Buchanan said the two women brought different skill sets to the table.
“They both know what they have in me as a councillor,” said Buchanan. He said he has no problem telling either one of them to what he thinks.
Buchanan said the campaign is over and it is time to get back to work.
Coun. Dianne Wyntjes did not publicly throw her support behind either of the two third-term councillors.
“But when the people speak, you give your support to the mayor,” said Wyntjes. “Coun. Veer has my full support. You need that in that job. That’s why I wasn’t vocal about who I was supporting. If people asked me one on one, I would give my perspective but I wasn’t putting anything out on Facebook. I think that is respectful of all the people who are running for office.”
Coun. Frank Wong said Veer is an outstanding woman with proven leadership skills. He said he looks forward to working with the new councillors — Tanya Handley, Ken Johnston and Lawrence Lee.
The incumbents echoed Wong’s thoughts about getting back to city business.
Veer said throughout the campaign she would work with whoever the public elected. She said she was well aware that some openly endorsed other candidates.
“We all have a mandate from the public,” she said. “I certainly recognize that and would hope my council colleagues would recognize that as well.”
Veer said it is time to move past the election and recognize that council has a governance mandate to fulfil.