Byelection victory up for grabs: candidates

FORT FRANCES—With election day coming up Monday (Jan. 14), the citizens of Fort Frances have been asked to choose between candidates Todd Hamilton and Ken Perry to fill the vacant seat on council.
And with mere days left until the ballots are counted Monday night, both candidates weighed in on their campaigns.
“I don’t know if this election is about me against Todd Hamilton, or the people against the council and the fact that they [council] wanted to run an election,” Perry said late Tuesday.
“If Todd hadn’t been on council before and he and I were running for a position now, I wouldn’t want to try and predict the outcome of the election because I don’t know how people feel,” he added.
“But people feel we’re having an election for no reason, and that’s the backlash that’s maybe going to be felt at the polls.”
Perry said that no matter what happens Monday, he’s standing by what his campaign materials have said: The public must be involved in important decisions—and he’ll be there to listen to them.
“That’s my stance. I want to go in there and represent the people of Fort Frances, and I want to take my direction from the people of Fort Frances,” he stressed.
Perry said that if he is elected, “I want everybody to hold to me to what I said. If I’m doing something wrong, I want to be told that.
“If I don’t make it, I guess the other guy is going to win—more power to him. That’s the way it is, too,” he added.
“I don’t think I’m a shoo-in. But I think a lot of people are mad at town council, and if that’s a reason to have an election, let’s get at it.”
Perry said he will be at the Civic Centre shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday to see the results come in.
Meanwhile, Hamilton said during an interview Monday that he feels it’s anybody’s guess at to how the Jan. 14 byelection will turn out.
“During the Christmas holiday, it was pretty quiet,” he noted. “I think people were enjoying their holidays, their time off. But prior to that, and even this morning, I’ve had some phone calls and had people say they’ve voted and they’re supportive.
“We’ll wait and see what happens.”
Hamilton, who served on council from 2003-06, said he’s confident he has the knowledge and background to serve the electorate for another three years, adding there’s “no substitute for the years of experience you have on council.”
“Even councillors that have been there for two or three terms have all said the same thing—you never stop learning,” he remarked. “But the experience of being there is a great asset, and there’s no substitute for it.”
In addition to fiscal discipline and creating new opportunities for the local economy, Hamilton said it’s very important that Fort Frances continues to be recognized as “a tremendous place to raise a family” and that the town needs “to promote our community to help attract young people back here to reside.”
Perry and Hamilton are vying for the seat that came open when Coun. Tannis Drysdale resigned back in September.
The term of office is the remainder of the four-year term of the current council, which ends Nov. 30, 2010.
In last November’s municipal election, Perry ended up in seventh place with 1,593 votes, closely followed by Hamilton in eighth, who garnered 1,552 votes—a mere 41-vote difference.
(Fort Frances Times)