John Helin has not been re-elected as mayor of Lax Kw’alaams following their 2019 band elections.
Garry Reece Sr. won with a total of 291 votes, beating out Helin by 15. The two candidates received the majority of the 949 votes, with third place Stan Dennis Jr. receiving 175.
“It is very exciting. It was a close run between John and I and a lot of back and forth for a while. Now I am looking forward to having a good four years and starting my work with council,” Reece Sr. said.
This will be the fifth term for Reece Sr. as band mayor, who served for 16 years before Helin was elected in 2015.
“I decided to run again after talking to a lot of our band members,” he said. “I think we need to do a lot more reporting to our band members. It was something that was lacking from the previous council.”
One of the more divisive issues for the community has been the past council’s support for oil something Reece Sr. said he does not support for Lax Kw’alaams territory. In 2018 Reece and hereditary leader Sm’oogit Galksic (Andrew Tait) signed a statement claiming that the chief’s council, “had been presented as the voice for hereditary leaders in Lax Kw’alaams when in fact it was a committee hand-picked by the Eagle Spirit Energy project, which ha never consulted the Gits’iis Tribe.”
The rest of the candidates each received 55 votes or less:
Theresa Darlene Wesley: 55
Sharon Haldane: 49
Gayle Bedard: 49
Eugene Bryant: 44
Leonard Reece: 6
This election saw 36 candidates campaigning for 12 council spots. Out of the 949 votes, 24 ballots were spoiled.
Robert Hughes: 409
Braden Dudoward: 406
Kelly Sampson: 397
Gerri Alexcee: 376
Leona Wells: 344
Theodore White: 326
Betty Reece: 324
Harvey Garry Russell (off-reserve councillor elect): 301
Andrew Jackie Tait: 300
Angela Green: 280
Robert Moraes: 277
Joey Wesley (off-reserve councillor elect): 265
The trustee elects are:
Carl Sampson Jr.: 510
Michelle Bryant: 487
Lisa Girbav: 458
Susan Dennis: 443
Tressa Johnson: 385
Helin did not respond to a request for comment.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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