It was an amazing race for the Mayor’s job and with a wonderful group of volunteers who pitched in willingly and did everything right, I was proud of our campaign. We worked so hard to reach voters and present a different choice for leadership and a different voice of experience. In the end, the voters chose the incumbent, preferring to go with what they know.
I was aware of the risk going in, that to win would be the biggest challenge of my political and public life and to lose would mean an abrupt end to my work as a Councillor in my community and in the region. The latter prevailed and while disappointed, I was more concerned about campaign volunteers, who took the defeat harder in some ways than I did. But the real gifts at the end of this journey were the friends I made along the way, the opportunity to really get to know every corner of Oak Bay and learn from residents what was important and mattered to our community.
I was touched by the wonderful generosity of campaign donations that helped to ease the burden of what it costs now to run a race such as this one. Donations came from so many people who believed in me and our campaign. Not everyone in their lifetime has an experience that touches them so deeply so I am one of the lucky ones.
So what are the lessons learned? Knowing that every experience teaches us something about ourselves and others, what could we have done differently that might have changed the outcome? As I reflect on this question, one that pops up a lot post-election, I feel we did everything we could to get our message across to voters.
Ahead of the campaign, I worked hard to develop materials for residents that had substance, and would resonate, inform and demonstrate commitment, knowledge, ability and skills. We prepared for every All Candidates’ meeting and brought focus and determination to these forums. Could I have been tougher on my candidate? Perhaps. In the end, however, we chose to run a campaign based on integrity, honesty and fairness — “It’s not about winning but about how you play the game” Our volunteers believed in running a positive campaign based on respect for the process and other candidates and we achieved this goal.
Since November 15th, I have received scores of calls and e-mails expressing disappointment and dismay but hoping that I will remain involved in community affairs. You can bet that I will and now, I have the time and luxury to “choose” what I want to do.
It was a privilege to serve Oak Bay as a Council member and as the saying goes “Never say never” about running again in the future. In the meantime, stay tuned as my voice will now reach you in a new format, through my new website called “Where We Live — Voice in the Region.”