Molnar wins mayor race
Stephen Molnar, Tillsonburg's new mayor, and Colleen Szuba celebrated with supporters at the Tillsonburg Legion Monday night after a tight three-way mayor's race. (CHRIS ABBOTT/TILLSONBURG NEWS)
They knew it was going to be close. They were right – less than 200 votes separated the three mayoral candidates in Tillsonburg's municipal elections Monday.
When the ballots were tallied, unofficial results showed Molnar had won the race with 1,689 votes, leading Marty Klein 1,519 and Mark Renaud 1,491.
"I think of all the candidates, and I mean all of them," said Molnar, commending a group that included two deputy mayor hopefuls and eight running for councillor positions. "It's not an easy task putting yourself out in front of a community through an election campaign period."
Molnar said the key was 'staying the course' during the campaign, being consistent and true to himself and what he believes.
"I think the thing I've been historically proud of during four weeks of the campaign," said Molnar, who served seven years as Tillsonburg mayor from 2003-2010, "I'm no different during those four weeks than I've been in four years of elected office, or the last four years when I haven't been in an elected office. And that's why I was extremely comfortable coming into tonight. That had nothing to do with winning – it had to do with knowing that getting up tomorrow morning I was going to be pretty proud of myself, proud of my community."
Molnar, who was at Tillsonburg Legion Branch 153 Monday night with family and supporters when results were announced, said it's time to promote Tillsonburg.
"I sometimes find it hard campaigning because you're trying to sell yourself. I've spent most of my recent years selling this community. Selling myself isn't easy... selling Tillsonburg is something is just something I've always been so proud to do. And that's what I want to get back to. I want to get back to working with our volunteers, working with our staff.
"Being fiscally responsible, these don't have to be competing interests. Being inclusive, and being financially responsible, and finding strong economic policies – these are the types of things that allow you to be 'inviting' when they're looking at where to locate. The message that was sent to companies in the past is that 'we're unique, we provide value.'"
He said it's also important to focus on issues brought up during the campaign.
"These things have been identified, recorded, and they will be assembled, just like other people who have been out knocking on doors, listening."
Molnar said the orientation period leading up to their first council meeting in December will be important for the entire group, not just 'new people.'
"It goes back to the basics. The Municipal Act, the Development Charges Act, the Official Plan of Oxford... what are our local zoning bylaws, what is our procedural bylaw, what is our code of conduct? All of those are important.
"That's the knowledge. Then you listen, you do your due diligence, you get educated, and then the decisions flow. That's where good decisions are made. The orientation, it's not just about the new people."
Moving forward, Molnar wants to focus on making Tillsonburg 'a place to build your future.'
"There's people who didn't get elected tonight who still have so much more to give to their community. I've won elections, I've lost elections. I've been proud when I've won and I've been humble when I've lost. But I think at the end of the day we are a small town, we have broad shoulders. We will not achieve what we can achieve unless we bring all those people together. Our common interests are all the same – we want to make Tillsonburg the best it can be.
"At the end of the day I have total respect for all the candidates. These are all people who have a reason to commit, and I think we all need to respect that going forward to ensure that it's the Town of Tillsonburg that ultimately wins."
2014 Tillsonburg municipal election results:
Stephen Molnar 1689
Marty Klein 1519
Mark Renaud 1491
Dave Beres 2826
Mel Getty 1794
Max Adam 2858
Jim Hayes 2739
Penny Esseltine 2702
Chris Rosehart 2624
Brian Stephenson 2172
Jim Van Rybroeck 2037
Richard Miggens 1757
Roderick Van Riesen 1599