By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 30 2018
New deputy mayor Pat Kennedy is looking forward to serving Dysart et al with mayor elect Andrea Roberts.
“My role as deputy mayor is to support the mayor. I’m looking forward to that role both here at Dysart and at county council. I’ve got some priorities and I’m sure she does as well and I think they probably mirror each other and I’m looking forward to getting underway with them” he said.
Among the priorities Kennedy wants to explore are housing and internet and cellphone coverage.
The 65-year-old former director of Haliburton County’s Emergency Medical Services said this is his first political win ever after getting “beat badly” close to four decades ago. The only time he ran for a political position was in his 20s for Ward 1 in Dysart.
Kennedy said his opponent and friend Dennis Casey probably knocked on more doors than him but he said he believes the difference was in his stance on certain issues which resonated with voters along with his greater presence on social media.
He said his wife Cheryl who was a scrutineer at the township office on election night texted him the good news.
“She texted me and said ‘You won.’ That’s about all I got” he said laughing.
He had a sense of “relief and wonder” when he got the text.
“I felt all along especially the last two weeks that it could’ve gone either way. I thought it would be within a hundred votes … it was a little bit of bewilderment and shock. Obviously great happiness and then a humbling thing. A lot of people are putting faith in me and I hope I live up to it” he said.
Kennedy received a little more than 56 per cent of the vote. There were 5717 votes cast in the deputy mayor’s race out of a possible 13424.
When the results were known on election night Casey texted to congratulate him.
“I believe we’re on good terms. We were friends forever and I hope nothing there has changed” he said. “Andrea [Roberts] reached out as well. She wants to get together very very shortly. I’m really encouraged by that so starting to get excited. I’m going to go to county council for the last time for somebody sitting in the galley.”
Kennedy said he went to see Dysart Mayor Murray Fearrey after learning the results. He said Fearrey who lost to Roberts by 932 votes has done a lot for the community and that this was a “tough go” for him. Kennedy said he received encouragement from Fearrey every week for the last month in the lead up to election night.
“That was encouraging for me being a rookie. It was nice to hear from him. We don’t always agree on things. It was nice to have that voice of experience. Somebody that can say: Jeez three people said you’re doing excellent and the next said you’re going to lose. I just leaned on him a bit so it was nice.”
When reached for comment Casey said he believes Roberts and Kennedy will do a good job. He concurred with Pat about remaining friends.
As far as the loss Casey accepted the result. “It is what it is” he said with a smile.
In preparation for the election Kennedy has been sitting in on county council meetings since March and since May for Dysart.
“To me that was really important to [not just] learn a lot but to see how the people interact and what things that don’t get written in committee reports or the media. The last one was a great session. I’m glad I attended. It’s going to help shorten the learning curve I think” he said.
Kennedy appreciated the support he received but also hopes to earn the respect of those who didn’t.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the level of support. To those that didn’t [support me] I hope to earn your trust and faith going forward that I can do the job that needs to be done in this position” he said.