The number one vote-getter in the Chilliwack council election wasn’t even sure he was going to run this time around.
Coun. Chuck Stam was one of the incumbents re-elected Saturday night, and earned a resounding 5,386 votes.
He’ll be joining Sue Attrill, Ken Huttema, and Stewart McLean in a triumphant return to city hall.
“It’s a good feeling,” Stam told The Progress at the candidates’ reception he helped organize on election night at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn.
“It’s really about the whole team.
“With the addition of Jason Lum and Ken Popove to council, we’ll benefit from the depth of their knowledge and experience and be an even stronger team moving forward.”
Was he pleased with his own numbers?
Last election he earned substantially more with 8,769 people voting for him in 2008.
“I would have been happy with any finish in the top six,” Stam said candidly.
“This term I really took the proverbial walk in the snow before deciding to run. It came down to the crunch before I said ‘Yes, I’ll do it.'”
He highlighted re-growth, jobs and public safety during the election campaign, as well as improved local transit.
“I put out some new ideas and I think the first place finish was reflective of that,” said Stam.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she couldn’t be more pleased with the team chosen by the electorate.
“It was fun to watch the results come in and now I’m excited to get going,” she said.
It wasn’t “nerve-wracking” this time since Gaetz won by acclamation.
“I do think we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Coun. Ken Huttema was re-elected to council in fourth position with 4,136 votes.
“I’m feeling really good. I’m very grateful to the community,” he said at the candidates’ reception.
With newcomers Popove and Lum, Huttema predicted council will be “well-served” by their efforts.
Coun. Sue Attrill said she looks forward to getting back to work now that the election is over.
“There are several projects I want to see finished, while being anxious to get started on some others that are in the works,” she said.
Candidate Dick Harrington made it to ninth place with 2,206 votes.
“It was a positive experience,” he said, noting it was his seventh election campaign of his life.
Relatively new to Chilliwack, Harrington waged an old-fashioned campaign, and sought to meet voters one on one by campaigning door-to-door.
In the end, it may have been difficult to overcome “a lack of family roots, or name recognition” in the community, he added.
Candidate Rob Browne earned seventh position with 2,941 votes, coming just a few hundred votes short of winning a seat on council.
He campaigned hard, knocking on doors, distributing leaflets and updating his election website.
“It was a pretty balance campaign,” Browne said. “But obviously it’s hard to unseat incumbents.”
He lauded the idea of getting all the candidates together for a post-election celebration.
“It’s a good way of getting us all together to watch the polls and see what happens.”
It was partly Stam’s idea for a joint celebration. Last election Stam said had a private reception but they decided this year to open it up to friends, supporters and the media.
“I thought it would be an opportune time to thank all the candidates who ran in the election, and those who won.”
1 * STAM, Chuck 5,386
2 * POPOVE, Ken 4,876
3 * LUM, Jason 4,423
4 * HUTTEMA, Ken 4,136
5 * ATTRILL, Sue 3,997
6 * McLEAN, Stewart 3,140
7 BROWNE, Ron 2,941
8 CURRIE, Brenda 2,358
9 HARRINGTON, Dick 2,206
10 GOOSEN, Gerry 1,677
11 KORNELSEN, Gord 1,536
12 BRUCE, Phill 1,186
13 WEDEL, Ron 1,040
14 NOSKO, Mitchell 927
15 BRITTON, Mike 812
16 CARMICHAEL, Ian B. 546
17 GLASSEL, Garth 418
18 EROS, Chad 397
19 STELMASCHUK, Rob 329
20 MYERS, Roger Alan 179