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Lawlor wins Mayor's seat beating out Lewis, newcomer Alex Hilson sweeps to victory in Acton's Ward 1

Ann Lawlor is the new mayor of Halton Hills, supplanting long-time Mayor Rick Bonnette who has served in that position for the last 19 years. Lawlor, a Ward 4 Municipal Councillor narrowly edged out former Ward 2 incumbent Bryan Lewis for the top executive position by 580 votes (5,323 to 4,743) securing 40.67% of the 13,209 ballets cast to Lewis' 36.24%. Ken Paige finished in third place with 10.87% of the vote, while local businessman Norm Paulsen finished fourth with 7.79%.

Political neophyte Alex Hilson achieved a stunning victory over two incumbents in the Acton riding of Ward 1, garnering 41.12% of the vote as compared to incumbent Mike Albano who finished second with 31.26% (1,627 to 1,237 votes respectively). Long-time council member Jon Hurst finished in third place with 1,093 votes.

As expected, Regional Chairman Gary Carr was returned to office with a strong performance garnering 50.62% of the vote, and handily beating out challengers Jane McKenna and Andrea Grebenc.

The closest contest of the night were the two seats hotly contested in the rural riding of Ward 2. It had eight contestants and was void of incumbents. Bryan Lewis was contending for the Mayor's chair and incumbent Ted Brown had stepped aside. Newcomers Jason Brass and Joseph Racinsky exchanged leads for most of the night as results trickled in from the polls. Brass finally posted a total of 854 votes to Racinsky's 771. Matt Kindbom finished in third place while Acton farmer Geoff Maltby finished in fifth.

Chantal Garneau and Ron Norris will be the new council members for Ward 3, while incumbent Bob Inglis along with D'arcy Keene will be filling the two seats in Ward 4. Clark Somerville, Regional Council representative for Wards 1 and 2 was acclaimed without a vote being cast, while incumbent Jane Fogal easily defeated Wendy Farrow-Reed as Halton Regional representative for Wards 3 and 4.

A number of Halton Hills seats were not contested, particularly among the school boards. Jeanne Gray was acclaimed as trustee to the Halton District School Board. Likewise Pierre Gregory was not challenged as a representative for the Halton French School Board, nor was Dominique Janssens who will serve on the French Catholic School Board. The only contest among school board trustees was reserved for the Halton District Catholic Board where Janet O'Hearn-Czarnota beat challenger Thomas Gwozdz by a wide margin.

Things did not go as smoothly as the previous election four years ago when final results were available in less than an hour. Interesting to note, the Town was using Canadian-made Dominion voting machines this time which have been controversial in the United States in that country's last federal election.

Candidates with their supporters and families began to fill the Town Hall Council chambers at 8:00 pm but results were not posted until after 9, and the final results were not available until after 10:00 pm. Town clerk Valerie Petryniak explained the delay. “There was a problem with one laptop talking to the other one. So it was just a question of transferring files from one to the other.”


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