Winnipeg’s next mayor loves jazz, hates putting on Christmas lights and plans to raise your taxes
Winnipeg’s next mayor is a former pastor who is known to some of his closest friends and family as a genuine and patient man – who also learned about the penalty box while playing junior hockey at adolescence.
Scott Kitching has known Scott Gilllingham, who was elected Winnipeg’s new mayor on Wednesday night, since he was six years old and lived in the southern Manitoba town of Carman, where Gillingham was born.
Kitching said that Gillingham is known for his calm demeanor, « he wasn’t the Scott you saw on the hockey rink. »
« He wasn’t a moron, but he certainly racked up a lot of penalties, which is the opposite of what you see now as a former minister and one of the nicest, sweetest people you see, » Kitching said.
« He wasn’t afraid to mess everything up in the corners. »
Gillingham narrowly beat closest rival Glen Murray and nine other contenders in Wednesday’s mayoral race. Gillingham – who had served two terms as a councilor and chairman of the council’s finance committee – positioned himself in the race as the fiscally responsible choice.
« Holy shit, what a night, » Gillingham told a cheering crowd as he began his victory speech on Wednesday night.
« I want to be clear to everyone who voted for me and everyone who didn’t, that I intend to serve regardless. I didn’t show up to accept the status quo, I don’t I didn’t show up to defend the status quo, I showed up because I believe Winnipeg can try harder, govern smarter and deliver faster. »
Gillingham, who was first elected to city council in 2014 and won the St. James seat again in 2018, was a longtime member of outgoing mayor Brian Bowman’s inner circle as part of his executive committee. politics. Before that, it passed as 22 years old as a Pentecostal pastor.
Before entering municipal politics, she ran in the 2011 provincial election in St. James for the Progressive Conservatives, but lost to Deanne Crothers of the NDP.
Gillingham also briefly flirted with the Manitoba Conservative leadership race in 2021.
Gillingham resigned from Winnipeg City Council’s policy executive committee, as well as his position as council finance chairman, in April ahead of what he said was a « very likely » for the mayoral seat.
Committed to raising property taxes
He launched his campaign in May, pledging to build infrastructure and restore the city’s urban canopy.
« Too much of our political history has been about making big promises, setting big goals and making big announcements, without first building the strength to keep those promises, » Gillingham told the crowd in may.
Over the next five months, he told Winnipeggers he would raise property taxes by 3.5% next year and raise frontage taxes $1.50 per foot, which would increase the equivalent of another 2.6% increase in property taxes.
He also promised to speed up the widening of Kenaston Boulevard, appoint himself to the Winnipeg Police Board to increase oversight and send outreach workers instead of police to low-risk mental health calls.
He was supported by three councillors, all of whom were re-elected: Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River), Janice Lukes (Waverley West) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan).
Gillingham is the father of two children, including a 26-year-old daughter who describes her father as the « most selfless person » she knows.
But he doesn’t like turning on the Christmas tree lights, says Hannah Gillingham.
Although he’s a patient dad and loves Christmas, that doesn’t extend to putting the lights on the tree, she said.
« It’s something he could do without, » she said. « He sort of turns into a Grinch then. »
He’s also a lifelong lover of jazz music, and that’s what he played on his way to the Victory Party, Hannah said – at that point his fate was up in the air.
The results of the close race – which Gillingham won with 27.5% of the vote to Murray’s 25.3% – were unclear until the latest polls reported, around 10 p.m.
« Tensions were a little high, the radio was off and the jazz was ringing through the car, » Hannah said.
During his victory speech, Gillingham took the time to thank his 90-year-old grandfather, who was celebrating at the Clarion Hotel on Wednesday night, and stood by Gillingham throughout the campaign .
Gordon Alder helped his grandson by assembling placards – which he said he did every time Gillingham threw his hat into the political ring.
« I never expected my grandson to be mayor of Winnipeg, » Alder said.