Mayor Chris Spearman just moments after discovering he had been elected to serve another term in office.
As the results poured in, the sound of a victory champagne bottle popping echoed through Bullys Grandstand.
Dozens stood with their eyes fixated on the television screen as the election results filled the room with excitement. The supporters erupted in bursts of applause each time a riding was called for Mayor Chris Spearman.
A thundering roar sounded out when the final tallies came in.
One man stood reflecting on his journey, humbly looking toward the screen with a sense of pride.
Just moments after triumphing in the race to remain Lethbridge’s mayor, Spearman stepped away from congratulatory acquaintances and turned toward the people who mean the most to him, his family.ADVERTISEMENT
Embracing his son and two daughters that were in attendance, it was visible to all in the room that the second term mayor was filled with a sense of relief and excitement as his successful re-election presented him with another four years in office.
“The last four weeks on the campaign trail have been a lot of work because I had to play the part of two people. I don’t get to stop being mayor, just to be a candidate. Now I can just put all my focus on doing the best I can for the people of Lethbridge as their mayor,” said Spearman.
The incumbent leader was elected to a second mayoral term Monday night, defeating opposing candidates Martin Heavy Head and Robert (Bob) Janzen with a staggering 74 per cent of the popular vote.
According to Spearman, the divisive victory did not show a united city. There remained clear divisions among voters by gender, age and race.
“Tomorrow, it doesn’t matter how much I won by. Seventy-four per cent of voters chose me. That shows me there is almost 25 per cent of people who didn’t feel their voice was heard over the last term or their demographic was not being represented,” said Spearman.
Heavy Head made the decision during his election campaign to draw a hard-line on racism in Lethbridge. Spearman echoed his sentiment.
“Mr. Heavy Head gave voice to indigenous people in this city. That is something we intend to continue focusing on.”
Spearman went on to discuss the positive steps Lethbridge is taking towards repairing bridges with the indigenous community.
“One of the things I’m proudest of was the reconciliation steps we took. Lethbridge was the first town to host a week dedicated to that process. It is something the past council can be really proud of. It’s also something the new council will continue,” said Spearman.
The modest leader believes this past council has been historically one of the most successful to hold the reins; Spearman credits much of that success to the team of people who shaped the city’s council chamber.
“All of these efforts were not the mayor, they were a group of people working with me to help make Lethbridge a place people want to live,” said Spearman.
Filled with an immense sense of pride, no smile shone brighter upon the news of victory than that of Andrew Spearman, the mayor’s 27-year-old son. He says he is proud of the work his father has accomplished in Lethbridge, but believes his triumphs comes from somewhere deeper.
“My dad is a fellow who genuinely loves his community. His traits, characteristics and rich history of successes are not learned. They do not simply come with the gig, they are a part of who he is, and always have been,” said Andrew.
Like his father, Andrew is community-driven and focused on racial equality for the people of Lethbridge. Although he is currently pursuing an Education degree at the University of Lethbridge, he does not count out a future in public office.
“I’m going to focus on getting my education first. Then I’ll see if I can handle a room full of 30 kids. If I can handle that, maybe I can handle the job of mayor. I wouldn’t make any statements for the future, but it is a definite possibility,” said Andrew.
As humble as his father, the proud son diverted the attention away from himself and re-directed conversations back toward the newly elected mayor.
“I couldn’t be filled with more pride. Time and time again, he is spotted out and about throughout the community, participating in all varieties of fundraisers, opening ceremonies, historical milestones and casual clanking of glasses,” said Andrew.
After sneaking away to celebrate with his father, Andrew spoke candidly about how he reacted to the big win.
“I gave him a big hug, a big old kiss on the face just to embarrass him in front of everyone here and told him how happy I was for him. I was hoping for this result and although I had no doubts, it’s nice to know other people see what a great guy he is.”
He continued dolling out high praises to his dad.
“I can’t begin to explain how proud I am to have him as not only as my mayor, but my dad,” said Andrew.
Before ending the evening Mayor Spearman had simple, but sincere words for all the people who contributed to his re-election.
“Thank you. With all my heart, thank you.”