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September 16, 2019

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Gerrard re-elected in River Heights

Jon Gerrard, pictured with campaign manager David Mintz shortly before polls closed on election night, will serve four more years as MLA for River Heights. The Liberal was reelected on Sept. 10 after 20 consecutive years of service in the community

Jon Gerrard, pictured with campaign manager David Mintz shortly before polls closed on election night, will serve four more years as MLA for River Heights. The Liberal was reelected on Sept. 10 after 20 consecutive years of service in the community

Jon Gerrard will continue his decades-long career representing River Heights on Broadway after a convincing result on Tuesday night.

Gerrard, 71, was re-elected by voters in River Heights on Sept. 10 with 3,910 ballots cast in his favour, or 54.5 per cent, with 42 of 47 polls reporting at publication.

“I want to thank people in River Heights,” Gerrard said. “We’ve got incredible people, and I’m fortunate to have amazing volunteers.”

Following the 2018 Electoral Boundaries commission, the constituency of River Heights was realigned to include neighbourhoods previously represented by the NDP in Fort Rouge and Fort Garry-Riverview. Those changes did not factor heavily into the results, with Gerrard holding onto the popular vote. In 2016, the incumbent earned 5,230 votes, or 51.68 per cent.

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Jon Gerrard will continue his decades-long career representing River Heights on Broadway after a convincing result on Tuesday night.

Gerrard, 71, was re-elected by voters in River Heights on Sept. 10 with 3,910 ballots cast in his favour, or 54.5 per cent, with 42 of 47 polls reporting at publication.

"I want to thank people in River Heights," Gerrard said. "We’ve got incredible people, and I’m fortunate to have amazing volunteers."

Following the 2018 Electoral Boundaries commission, the constituency of River Heights was realigned to include neighbourhoods previously represented by the NDP in Fort Rouge and Fort Garry-Riverview. Those changes did not factor heavily into the results, with Gerrard holding onto the popular vote. In 2016, the incumbent earned 5,230 votes, or 51.68 per cent.

"One of the things I had to do this time around was to spend a lot of time in the newer areas that had just become part of River Heights because people didn’t know me," he said. "I knew I had to emphasize those new areas and get to know people."

Gerrard said his campaign in the community was an amazing experience to reconnect with old neighbours and meet the new folks he’ll be representing at the legislature.

"We develop a platform over several years and we have a lot of diverse input, but this is a very intense time of learning, meeting people, and of getting individual stories and individual experiences and putting them together and trying to help people," Gerrard said.

The longtime Liberal will be heading into the fall session as one of three Grits. Despite the party losing one seat and official party status, Gerrard said the Liberals had strong support under the leadership of Dougald Lamont. The other two Liberal MLAs-elect are Lamont in St. Boniface and Cindy Lamoureux in Tyndall Park.

"Clearly, this time around, compared to 2016, the feedback was very positive," said Gerrard. "The campaign in 2016 was exciting at times, but it was clearly more difficult on the ground.

"With a larger team, with official party status, with more resources, we were able to do things in greater depth."

With a sixth mandate, Gerrard is the second-longest serving MLA, after Myrna Driedger (PC) who was re-elected in Roblin on Sept. 10. Gerrard was first elected in the 1999 general election and has held the position for 20 consecutive years. 

Susan Boulter, a retired public servant, earned the runner-up position in the race for River Heights, with 1,670 votes.

The 61-year-old put her name forward for public office with the Progressive Conservatives for the first time after working 35 years with the provincial government. Boulter retired from the civil service about five years ago as chief operating officer of the Vital Statistics Agency.

She was unavailable for an interview on election night.

Manitoba New Democratic candidate Jonathan Niemczak carried the party to a third-place finish in the riding with 1,059 votes.

The Green Party of Manitoba’s Nathan Zahn rounded out the pack with 535 votes.

Voter turnout in River Heights was 43.8 per cent. 

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester

Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at danielle.dasilva@canstarnews.com

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