BEAVER BANK: Lisa Blackburn has passed the job interview to be the councillor for District 14. Now it’s time for her to get to work.
The former CBC web reporter and radio host narrowly defeated incumbent Brad Johns in the HRM municipal election on Saturday Oct. 15. Kevin Copley, the other candidate in the race, was a distant third.
While most of the other candidates were well into their celebratory parties—or some like Steve Streatch had already wrapped theirs up—Blackburn and a bevy of supporters were still awaiting final confirmation she won the seat. That came among some late night bleary eyes at 12:30 a.m. when the final two tables were reported, giving Blackburn a 47 vote advantage (2,062 to 2,015 for Johns). Copley garnered 741 votes.
“Now the job interview is over, it’s time to do the job,” Blackburn told The Laker inside her and husband Jamie Paterson’s home, nestled on a picturesque cul-de-sac, in Beaver Bank.
She offered thanks to those who cast their ballot in support of her.
“I am completely overwhelmed and humbled by the support of the voters in District 14,” she said. “I thank you so much for the faith you put in me.”
The long wait for confirmation that she won—due to voting exceptions and District 14 votes having to be one of a few districts late to find out—did leave for some second guessing, although she led right from the first table was reported.
“I haven’t been this anxious since I was in labor,” she said with a chuckle. “This has been nerve-wrecking. It really has. It’s been the most incredible experience of my life.”
Blackburn and the other councillors won’t get too long to savor the victory—they all will begin work on Nov. 1 representing their respective ridings.
“There are a few things I want to tackle right out of the gate,” she said. “I certainly want to look at transit issues, it’s something I heard time and time again on the doorstep, especially in Lucasville. I’d like to see and work towards getting a bus on Lucasville Road.
“I’d also like to tackle some of the speeding and crosswalk issues we have here. From a larger perspective, the frontage bylaw and interested on what work we can do towards that.”
She agreed there will be a learning curve for her going into city hall as a member, and not just there as a media member as she had been many times in the past.
“There’s no way no one can come into this job out of the gate knowing what it’s all about,” said Blackburn. “That said, after covering council for 25 years plus I certainly have a good handle on all the people, the issues, but might not have all the answers.
“I think I have a pretty good idea of who I need to call to get the answers when I need them.
Blackburn said the result all boiled down to one thing-change.
“People in District 14 simply wanted change,” she said. “And I am that change they were looking for.”
Johns called the result a “nail biter” in a thank you post on his facebook wall. He congratulated Blackburn on the win.
“I’d like to sincerely thank the 2015 voters who did support me, your time and consideration is appreciated,” said Johns. “To my girl friend Debbie Mackinnon, who worked so hard with me this election, thank you for all you did you are truly a wonderful woman and I’m lucky to have you in my life.
“My good friend Regan Oliver, thank you for all you did as well. We certainly got our exercise. To my Mom and Dad ( Marjorie Johns and Jim Johns), I can’t say enough. I love you both very much and thank you both for your help and support.”
He said he has no regrets about the election, or what he has done in the past to support the community.
“I stand by who I am and I wouldn’t change what I believe in for anything,” he said. “District 14 is my home and a wonderful place to be. I guess I don’t have to worry about planning Weir Stompin’ 2017 and if I had to do it all over again I’d still do the (talking Christmas) tree.
“The girls are healthy, the sun is shining and life continues on. When God closes a window he sometimes opens a door.”