Monday October 22, 2018 was election day for 444 municipalities across Ontario that saw thousands of candidates put their name on the ballot months earlier to represent folks in their communities, from school board trustees, to town and city councillors to the Mayor’s office.
One of those candidates is a 32-year member of the IBEW and former Business Manager of IBEW Local 914, Terry Ugulini, who won the race to become Mayor of Thorold, Ontario. Ugulini had spent the last four years as a city councillor in Thorold and decided to throw his hat in the ring to become the next Mayor.
“I’ve been out in the community for four years and I’ll continue to do that and deal with issues as they arise,” he said.
In a post on his Facebook page on the morning of the election, Ugulini said “I would like to start by giving a BIG thank you to all of my family, friends and volunteers who have dedicated their time. You have been an integral part of this campaign and I cannot begin to explain how much your support is appreciated.”
Ugulini obviously resonated with the voters as he captured 3298 votes, or 64.4% of the vote to beat out his opponent Henry D’Angela who finished with 1822 votes or 35.6%.
After speaking with countless residents Ugulini says that there are many issues the city is facing, and he is looking to start working on those issues with council right away. One of those issues is also issues IBEW members from coast to coast want to focus on, and that’s jobs.
“We need to bring jobs back to the area,” he said. “We have the location and service property. The city is growing with residential growth, we need to carry that component with it.”
Continuing in the Niagara Region, IBEW Local 303 Business Manager Mark Cherney put his name on the ballot in Niagara-On-The-Lake to run for a seat on Regional Council. Cherney is in his second term as Business Manager and says he will defend the town’s beautiful and unique character, ensure that every dollar the residents pay to the Region goes to services they receive, and ensure new opportunities in Niagara are fairly given to residents of our town.
“I’ve spent my life speaking up for our community and for those I represent – I’d be honoured to have the opportunity to bring that passion to the Region.”
Running against three candidates who previously held public office, Cherney knew he was in for a fight, but a fight that he and his family were willing to go all in on in order to make much needed changes at Niagara’s Regional Council.
“For too long a dysfunctional Regional Council has ignored the needs of smaller communities in Niagara.”
In a four-way race for one seat, Cherney finished with 1652 votes or 21.96% of the vote, just 740 votes behind the successful candidate, Gary Zalepa Jr.
In the city of Vaughan, ON, IBEW Local 353 member Tom Takacs ran in his second election this year. Earlier Tom was nominated by the Ontario NDP as the candidate for Mississauga East-Cooksville. The master electrician and longtime community volunteer ran a great campaign but lost to the Conservative blue wave that swept Ontario. Like many members, brother Takacs dusted himself off and put his name on the ballot for Ward 3 councilor in the city of Vaughan. Despite Takacs tenacity, the voters in Ward 3 decided to re-elect the incumbent.
In the city of Pembroke, Ontario, IBEW members John McCann and Sean McMullan both ran for city council. McCann was seeking re-election for his second term as councillor and McMullan was vying for his first term. These brothers were in a tough race that had twenty candidates competing for 6 council positions and unfortunately, they finished just outside the top six candidates.
Just days prior to the Ontario Municipal elections, the province of British Columbia held their municipal elections. Like her brothers above, sister Mollie Routledge decided she would seek public office to represent the residents of Area “L” (Grasslands). Mollie is the mother of three adult children and the proud grandmother of one. Mollie also leads Business Development and research for IBEW Local 993 in Kamloops, BC.
When asked why she decided to put her name on the ballot, she replied “A good friend of mine always says, if you are not in the room no one will hear you and you will not have a voice.”
Mollie decided to be in that room and to be that voice, not only for herself, but for the residents of Area “L” (Grasslands).
The IBEW Canadian office would like to congratulate brother Terry Ugulini for his successful run to become mayor of Thorold, ON and extend our gratitude to sister Routledge and brothers Cherney, McCann, McMullan and Takacs for their dedication and desire to serve their community.
Please be advised that the members in this article are the only members that the IBEW Canada office is aware of that has ran in the British Columbia or Ontario Municipal elections. If you are aware of any fellow IBEW members running for office, please email the IBEW First District office at (IVPD_01@ibew.org)
Content credit on Terry Ugulini provided by Melinda Cheevers, a reporter for Niagara this Week on her article posted here.