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Mayor Dooley delivered surprise in his bid for third term
The biggest surprise for Mayor John Dooley came one day before Saturday night’s election results had been delivered — a landslide victory of nearly 1,300 votes over his nearest competitor.
His sister, Katrina, flew in from Ireland Friday night to see her older brother at the end of his campaign for a third consecutive term as mayor, and his fifth term on City council.
Dooley was visibly touched by the gesture and said so at the start of his acceptance speech at Jackson’s Hole, less than five minutes after he was unofficially proclaimed the winner of the mayoral race around 8:35 p.m. after polls closed at 8 p.m.
“I got the surprise of my life when my sister walked through the door. She came all the way from Ireland with her husband to be here tonight for me,” he said, his voice shaking a little.
The ironic thing, said Dooley, was when he left Ireland his sister was still a child.
“Still am,” said Katrina, displaying the same wit as her brother is known for in Nelson, and drawing a laugh from the crowd assembled.
“I didn’t really know her back then,” he said, explaining that he was from a large family and he was the eldest. “But for her to be here on this night for me and to come across the Atlantic, it just means so much.”
With Dooley’s track record as mayor arguably a strong one — and there being little or no opposition to his bid to retain the position from his two challengers — it was as if Dooley was acclaimed as mayor from the outset of the 2011 municipal election.
Despite having successfully staged four previous campaigns, Dooley admitted he felt nervous in this election. He ran an honest and committed campaign, and it proved enough to secure his third term as mayor.
“You can never dismiss any person that decides to run,” Dooley said. “We ran our campaign as diligently as we have ever done it in the past, and that was important to us in the end.”
Even though he wasn’t sure it was what he wanted.
His wife, Pat, had been sick and one year ago, he said in his post-election speech, and he felt drained by the time the call for nominations went out last month.
The last year was a real roller coaster ride for the Dooley family, he added, with his wife Pat in Vancouver General Hospital getting surgery one year ago.
“If it wasn’t for the support of Pat, and her getting behind me and saying, ‘You should do what you feel you should do if your heart is in it,’ and it was. It was the right thing to do and I’m pleased with the results tonight.”
In the end, Dooley garnered 1790 votes, compared to 481 for Richard Rowberry and 105 for George Mercredi. Voter turnout was 33 per cent, with 2,677 votes cast.
On the councilor end of the spectrum, Paula Kiss turned her strong campaign and community work in Nelson over the last few years into the second-most votes out of the field of eight councilors.
The people of Nelson embraced her fresh ideas and obvious vigor for the community by sending 1,709 votes her way.
And Nelson served up a thank you to veteran councilor Donna Macdonald as she followed up her return to politics three years ago with another win, taking the most votes overall with 1,744 votes.
Former City Works manager Bob Adams won his third consecutive term on council with 1,605 votes, followed by three-term councilor Deb Kozak, 1,595 votes, and fellow three-term councilor Robin Cherbo with 1,574 votes.
Newcomer Candace Batycki nailed down the final spot on the six-person council with 1,445 votes. That shut the door on a former two-term councilor and former manager of the Capitol Theatre.
Dooley expressed some regret with the news that Marg Stacey was not re-elected, finishing seventh with 1,272 votes.
“She has been a great councilor and a good friend,” he said.
Charles Jeanes finished in eighth place with 495 votes to round out the field.
In the School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) trustee race, Bill Maslechko (1,121) and Bob Wright (1,064) took Nelson’s two seats on the board, while Curtis Bendig finished with 744 votes and did not get in.