Sheila Fitzger­ald ‘re­lieved’ by re­sult

Fitzger­ald to take sec­ond term as mayor of Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS ROD­DICK­TON-BIDE ARM, NL

Sheila Fitzger­ald says she was re­lieved, hon­oured and hum­bled to be re-elected as mayor of Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm for a sec­ond term.

Fitzger­ald held her seat Tues­day night against op­po­nent Ken­neth Reid, by 312 votes to 129.

She was first elected as mayor in 2013.

“It speaks vol­umes in terms of their sup­port,” she said.

Fitzger­ald saw the re­sult as recog­ni­tion of her lead­er­ship and the work she’s put in over the past four years to con­tinue mov­ing the town for­ward.

And it hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily been an easy four years.

In fact, Fitzger­ald be­lieves the last term was prob­a­bly one of the hard­est for the coun­cil of Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm af­ter the clo­sure of the pel­let plant and sawmill in 2012.

“The last coun­cil got in in 2013, so we op­er­ated a full term with no cor­po­rate in­dus­try in our town, but we sus­tained our­selves,” she said.

She notes the town has “only” seen a pop­u­la­tion de­cline of 58 peo­ple – 5.5 per cent – from 2011 to 2016.

“They put their faith in the coun­cil that we’re go­ing to work hard and that we’re go­ing to find a fu­ture,” said Fitzger­ald.

Five peo­ple, Fitzger­ald in­cluded, were re-elected from the previous coun­cil. There will be two new coun­cil­lors as well.

Ini­tially, Fitzger­ald was ner­vous about hav­ing to cam­paign again. But, with hind­sight, she be­lieves it was a great op­por­tu­nity to meet with the pub­lic to gather feed­back.

She added it was a very clean may­oral race and she has noth­ing but the ut­most re­spect for her op­po­nent, Ken­neth Reid.

“He was an ex­cel­lent coun­cil mem­ber,” she said. “I took the com­pe­ti­tion very se­ri­ously. He’s from here, he lives here, he works, he has fam­ily here, he has a vested in­ter­est here.

“He’s a smart man, he knows what’s on the go and I know, at some point, un­doubt­edly he will make a good mayor.”

Fitzger­ald wished to thank the town for its sup­port.

“I’m not a one-per­son show and I could never ever keep push­ing and pulling if I didn’t have a great coun­cil be­hind me and a great town be­hind me,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re still a small town and no­body goes with­out, and ev­ery­body is there to do their part. And last night’s vote was re­flec­tive of that.”

The North­ern Pen was un­able to reach Ken­neth Reid for com­ment.

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