Everett Baker says he’s “very humbled” the voters have chosen him to lead Grand Forks for the next four years.
Baker spoke with Vista Radio Sunday morning as he enjoyed breakfast at a local eatery after an admittedly long night. Baker captured nearly 49 per cent of the vote with his closest challenger being Danna O’Donnell at 22 per cent.
“I felt my work over the last, certainly in the last two years since the by-election, but my work in the community for the last 10 (to) 15 years would give me the skills to be able to be mayor. It was very humbling though. It was a tough election and it’s humbled when that confidence was so well delivered last night in the numbers.”
The mayor-elect will be working with a council that’s a 50-50 mix of old and new.
He says having Zak Stoodley, Neil Krog and Christine Thompson re-elected speaks to their track record while there’s a healthy mix in three new faces.
Baker will meet soon with David Mark, Deborah Lafleur and Rod Zielinski to hear about their hopes and goals on moving the city forward.
“The fact that the incumbents were elected was because they have had a solid track record over the last four years and I think the community sees that we are moving forward and we have some new blood which I think is healthy – it’s healthy for our community,” Baker said.
A referendum on borrowing up to $16.3 million for a Grand Forks and Area D community center failed – something that doesn’t surprise Baker – given he heard while campaigning that it was “just not the time” as taxpayers face flood mitigation work (DMAF) and inflation.
“Folks don’t have the money that they used to have. So, if they can save a few dollars on their taxes, that’s to their benefit. It’s money in their pocket,” he said.
Reiterating his election platform, Baker says he will look for other ways to provide Grand Forks with a community hall that will meet its needs but it won’t be as elaborate.
Baker was elected with 621 votes, compared to O’Donnell 279. Alec Brownlee had 234 and Stan Sharkey 104.
The council will be made up of incumbent Zak Eburne-Stoodley (808), former councillor Rod Zielinski (780), incumbent Neil Krog (736), David Mark (646), Deborah Lafleur (591), and incumbent Christine Thompson (574).
Falling short were Kenton McNutt (441), Niki Best (358), Anna Leksinska (331), and former councillor Patrick O’Doherty (323).
The turnout was 37 per cent.