Scott Gillingham is upgrading his seat at City Hall. He has been elected as the next mayor of Winnipeg.
It was with roaring cheers as Gillingham took the stage after being elected with 27.5 per cent of the votes Wednesday night, beating his closest opponent Glen Murray by more than 4,000 votes.
“Next week it will be my high honour to serve and to govern and to lead this city, and to build on that history with ever skill I can muster,” Gillingham said during his victory speech. “My campaign motto has been from the start – Uniting to build a stronger Winnipeg – and it will be my goal to make every effort through the coming months and years of this term to unite Winnipeg together so we can build a stronger, brighter city.”
Gillingham first showed up on the political scene in 2014 when he took office as the councillor for St. James and then was re-elected in 2018.
He spent time on the finance committee as well as the Winnipeg Police Board and was part of the former mayor Brian Bowman’s inner circle.
“I recognize tonight what we all recognize, that tonight the votes were very split. This was an extremely close race,” said Gillingham.
In the end, Gillingham collected 53,663 votes,
“What a night,” Gillingham said to a room full of cheering supporters.
MURRAY CONCEDES RACE FOR MAYOR
Glen Murray, who had been a front-runner in the mayoral race in Winnipeg, ended with about 25 per cent of the vote. He congratulated Gillingham on his victory while conceding the race.
“I don’t want you to go home feeling down tonight. We love our city,” Murray told those who came out to support him on election night. “We are citizens of this city and this whole campaign was about activating our citizenship.”
It was a tight race.
According to a Probe Research poll that was commissioned by CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press, Gillingham was only getting 15 per cent of the support from voters, while former mayor Glen Murray was out ahead at 40 per cent in late September.
GILLINGHAM’S PROMISES TO WINNIPEGGERS
Early on, Gillingham was focused on the race for mayor, registering his campaign on the second day of registration.
Improving transportation has been top of mind for the former St. James councillor. He says the city still needs to catch up on fixing roads and improve their resiliency.
He plans to invest $50 million to fund additional road repairs between now and 2026.
Gillingham has also set his sights on Kenaston Boulevard and Chief Peguis Trail. He wants to widen Kenaston between Ness and Taylor and extend Chief Peguis from Main Street to Kenaston.
“Those are trade routes, they open our economy. And what those two projects will do…they tie directly into CentrePort South. CentrePort will be the next area that provides the most jobs in our city. It is the biggest industrial land and employment lands that we have in the City of Winnipeg,” Gillingham said in a previous interview with CTV News Winnipeg.
To help with some of his plans, he has said property taxes would be raised to 3.5 per cent next year and he would introduce a one-time frontage levy.
Gillingham also wants to be tough on crime while mayor, saying he plans to sit on the Winnipeg Police Board, which would give him the opportunity to hold the Winnipeg Police Service accountable.
Gillingham said he will work to have police in the city to approach crime with a more proactive approach and involve community organizations more in crime prevention plans.
Dealing with the issue of homelessness and addiction, Gillingham plans to have a Senior Advisor on Homelessness and Street Safety that can help community organizations.
He also promises to get more housing faster for those who need it by creating 270 units of modular rapid housing that can be built on city-owned or purchased land.
Other campaign promises include better customer service at city hall, building a stronger local economy, improving downtown and making Winnipeg greener.
GILLINGHAM TO TAKE OVER REINS FROM BOWMAN
Gillingham will take over the city reins from Brian Bowman.
Bowman was first elected as Mayor of Winnipeg in 2014 and was re-elected four years later. He announced two years ago that he would not be seeking re-election.
“In my view, Manitoba has far too many career politicians,” Bowman said at the time. “I won’t be one of them.”
Bowman was Winnipeg’s 43rd mayor, and the first Indigenous mayor in the city’s history.