STRATFORD — Newly elected Stratford mayor Steve Ogden plans to lean heavily on collaboration in shaping the future of this quickly-growing municipality.
“I’m going to really use the four years to (the) best effect, but really use planning and consensus and citizen engagement – really engage the people to help us with our decision making,’’ he told The Guardian Monday night.
“The legacy I would like to leave is to achieve results that people want in the next four years.’’
And one term is all Ogden plans to serve as mayor. He expects to be busy, tallying roughly 25 hours or so a week in his new political post.
He has put in plenty of time in municipal politics already: the past eight years as a councillor in Ward 2 and several other years as a member of the Keppoch-Kinlock Community Council prior to amalgamation.
He says school infrastructure for Grades 7 to 12 is the No. 1 priority for many residents in Stratford while others have raised traffic congestion on the Hillsborough Bridge and speeding as important concerns needing attention.
Making Stratford “more affordable’’ also needs to be a focus for the town, adds Ogden.
Noting the nod as mayor “feels good’’, Ogden paid tribute to veterans, his wife, Peggy (the couple celebrated their 35th anniversary Monday), and his fellow candidates, Jody Jackson and Sandy MacMillan.
“We have a tradition here in Stratford of respecting each other and being civil and we maintained that throughout the campaign,’’ said Ogden, who is retired after spending many years as a senior federal government administrator.
“We’re civil, we’re good friends.’’
Ogden had a convincing victory with 1,650 votes compared to 1,217 for Jackson and 525 for McMillan.
Jackson had been a councillor for just 18 months after winning a byelection in May 2017 to fill the seat vacated by Diane Griffin, who was appointed to the Senate.
“It’s disappointing, obviously,’’ he says.
“I took a chance. I saw some things I wanted to do and I was the only one moving those items forward.’’
Both Jackson and MacMillan stressed the campaign was highlighted by civility and mutual respect among the three mayoralty candidates, and they both predict Ogden will make a great mayor.
“The three of us worked very hard – all of us – and we had a very good rapport among the three of us which really contributed to a very positive experience regardless of the outcome for me,’’ says MacMillan.
“I think Steve will be wonderful, and we’ll give him all the support going forward in this new endeavor for him.’’
McMillan is a two-term former Stratford councillor and past deputy mayor.
She was defeated by David Dunphy in her town’s 2010 mayoralty campaign
Dunphy was acclaimed mayor in 2014 and did not re-offer this year.
Gail MacDonald cruised to a council seat in Ward 1 with 643 votes while Derek Smith edged out Denise MacLeod Ling by 47 votes.
Jill Burridge had a comfortable margin of victory in Ward 2 with 789 votes and Darren MacDougall finished ahead of four other candidates tallying 555 votes to earn the second council seat in the ward.
Long-time councillor Gary Clow and newcomer Steve Gallant both were acclaimed in Ward 3.