O'Leary top vote-getter in at-large race

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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Garners more than 24,000 votes in first run at office

While happy about their own wins, the three re-elected at-large candidates in the City of St. John's municipal election Tuesday night appeared equally enthusiastic about the impressive win for newcomer Sheilagh O'Leary who polled the highest votes of all candidates.

"Wow," said Coun. Tom Hann, commenting on O'Leary's 24,056 votes. "Good for her."

"Sheilagh did a wonderful job. She had a phenomenal campaign," Coun. Gerry Colbert said. He said the irony is that O'Leary's late father, Sean, worked day and night on at least three of his past campaigns. "I'm thrilled that Sheilagh is in, when I think of all the work her father gave to me for three elections. He was a phenomenal support," Colbert said.

While happy about their own wins, the three re-elected at-large candidates in the City of St. John's municipal election Tuesday night appeared equally enthusiastic about the impressive win for newcomer Sheilagh O'Leary who polled the highest votes of all candidates.

"Wow," said Coun. Tom Hann, commenting on O'Leary's 24,056 votes. "Good for her."

"Sheilagh did a wonderful job. She had a phenomenal campaign," Coun. Gerry Colbert said. He said the irony is that O'Leary's late father, Sean, worked day and night on at least three of his past campaigns. "I'm thrilled that Sheilagh is in, when I think of all the work her father gave to me for three elections. He was a phenomenal support," Colbert said.

Having three women on council will also bring a different dynamic and different perspective to discussions at city hall, Colbert said.

"I am very impressed and amazed with Sheilagh, Coun. Sandy Hickman said. "Oh my God, she blew us out of the water."

O'Leary herself wasn't expecting to poll so many votes. "It's phenomenal, really, and it just goes to show that people are really looking for some positive and creative change in the city," she said. "I've had a phenomenal campaign team with me and for me and, besides the team, the supporters and the people in the community, they're obviously very interested in community engagement. That was the message I was really putting out there through my whole campaign about community involvement, how people really need to be engaged in what happens in their city and their neighbourhood and obviously that must have been the message that rang through because it reached people in all areas."

O'Leary said St. John's is a fantastic city and it's time to make sure it only gets better because in this age when everybody is talking about prosperity, not everybody is feeling that prosperity. "We want to make sure we live in a city that allows quality of life issues for everybody," she said.

O'Leary described the campaign as "positive and proactive. It was really an absolute pleasure working with, and campaigning in, the same genre with people who did such a wonderful job," she said.

O'Leary said all the candidates she met and rubbed shoulders with at various events during the campaign were very respectful and it was "really a class act."

Hickman polled 17,562 votes, Hann received 17,079 and Colbert polled 16,183, according to results released by the City of St. John's after polls closed.

"The third time is wonderful," Hickman said. "I'm obviously very happy about it and honoured to be able to serve again."

Describing himself as simply a working class man who volunteers, gets involved in family, school and community activities and represents the middle class on council, Hickman said "that's why I think people appreciate what I do."

Hann credits his win to a "good grass roots campaign" that pulled out all stops. He said, at last count, his campaign had 60 to 70 people and in just 4 1/2 weeks, his team "touched approximately 30,000 houses on foot," meaning they either knocked on the door, dropped a brochure or spoke to somebody at all of these homes in that short time.

And we stuck to the issues, taxation, issues of infrastructure and that sort of thing ... hopefully we can move forward now," Hann said.

Colbert said he was "absolutely delighted," but also "flabbergasted and humbled" to be elected for the sixth consecutive time.

"No matter what happens I will have served a quarter of a century, 25-years almost, to the citizens of St. John's and I'm absolutely delighted," Colbert said. "Every time you run, you always wonder whether or not you've done a job, if people want you back again, is your time up?" he said.

dss@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Too bad most votes doesn't get you the Mayor's chair.

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Good for Sheilagh,no prob with her in. But it must be noted she had a huge NDP machine helping her on this one with Cleary's manager and Ms Michaels door to door.

  • Adam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Sheilagh did a marvelous job with the Photo Exhibit of children with Down syndrome at the Arts and Culture Centre last October in 2008. Now in the City of St. John's Council, there is nothing that she can't do to represent in the city of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Congratulations Sheilagh!

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Too bad most votes doesn't get you the Mayor's chair.

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Good for Sheilagh,no prob with her in. But it must be noted she had a huge NDP machine helping her on this one with Cleary's manager and Ms Michaels door to door.

  • Adam
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Sheilagh did a marvelous job with the Photo Exhibit of children with Down syndrome at the Arts and Culture Centre last October in 2008. Now in the City of St. John's Council, there is nothing that she can't do to represent in the city of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Congratulations Sheilagh!