Team Airdrie United respond to defeat in election
The dust has settled, the election results are in and Team Airdrie United has been dissolved.
The four-member slate consisting of candidates Jane Anderson, Mike De Bokx, Kevin Hughes and Angela Pitt all fell short of reaching their goal of attaining a seat on Airdrie City council.
Anderson amassed the most votes of the four, accumulating 1,735 votes for eighth place among the 15 candidates. Pitt, De Bokx and Hughes followed in ninth through eleventh place respectively.
De Bokx and Hughes were the only members of the team present at City Hall on Oct. 21; both were gracious in defeat and spoke about their experiences individually as well as members of Team Airdrie United.
“At the end of the day, I’m proud of what we accomplished,” said De Bokx. “We set out to have a louder voice and bring our issues to the forefront and I think we did that.”
When asked whether he thought joining the team was a good decision in his bid for a council seat, De Bokx replied, “I don’t know, it’s too early to tell.”
Anderson was hopeful that the work of Team Airdrie United throughout the course of the campaign will bring about action from council.
“I hope that our issues were heard and that council will take note of them,” said Anderson. “We didn’t get a small number of votes so I hope that council will take action on the issues we brought forward.”
Airdrie Team United campaigned on three issues: bringing 24-hour health care to Airdrie, “sensible growth” and an Airdrie-first mentality.
Hughes sat out much of the campaign in his 2010 run for alderman due to a broken foot; though he avoided physical injury this year, he says this campaign was far from easy on him.
“This campaign got nasty, there was a lot of mud slinging going on, I had one person tell me that I should join the PQ (Parti Quebecois), I had one person call me a dictator,” said Hughes. “A lot of the criticism and comments were directed at the team as a whole but I do take those things personal.”
Angela Pitt finished ninth in voting with 1,702 votes and echoed Hughes’ sentiments about the campaign getting hostile at times.
“There were a lot of negative things being said on social media,” said Pitt, who added that she had no regrets about joining a team and felt it was a necessity for change. “It was Team Airdrie United versus team incumbent, the only way to go about changing the majority of seats was to run as a team.”
The male contingent of Team Airdrie United shared the feeling of pride in what they had accomplished and the amount of buzz they generated throughout the campaign.
“We were the talk of the town throughout much of the campaign and that was our goal,” said Hughes, who also expressed his disappointment in the 17.75 per cent voter turnout. “I think our team members all received a respectable number of votes, but it would’ve been nice if the turnout was higher.”
Pitt said she felt that the low turnout hurt the team’s numbers as far as votes garnered.
“I’m disappointed in the turnout, we had far more support than just 1,700 people who voted,” said Pitt.
De Bokx says he would like to find ways to work with the City and remain involved and he will attend council meetings and keep Mayor Peter Brown and aldermen accountable.
Although members of Team Airdrie United weren’t able to win a council seat, team members were satisfied with the council voters elected.
“You look at the six people that were elected and it’s a good council,” said De Bokx.