Lax Kw’alaams Band Mayor John Helin will no longer serve as mayor. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

New band mayor elected in Lax Kw’alaams

Garry Reece Sr. will be replacing John Helin as band mayor

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

Spoiled: 4

READ MORE: Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Nisga’a and Haisla commit to fight climate change internationally

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

READ MORE: Metlakatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Nisga’a and Haisla commit to fight climate change internationally

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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