365 days ago, at this time, I was out with my family and volunteers knocking on every last door I could before the polls closed on an election where Ward 5 would see a new Councillor for the first time in 19 years.
With six other names on the ballot, I had no idea what my chances were. I just knew I had done my absolute best and worked as hard as I could.
The last street I knocked on was the street where I grew up and, as I walked home with nothing else I could possibly do, my mind turned to my childhood in West Carleton; all the people from my past I had reconnected with during the campaign; all the amazing friendships, experiences, and challenges; and of course, my family - particularly my late mother, who I know would have been on that walk with me.
All the emotions I felt in that moment and, honestly, the relief that the campaign was over just made me cry the rest of the way home. I realized right there that it didn’t matter whether I won or lost. The experience was still worth it. It was a daily reminder of how amazing our community is and that it’s amazing because of the people and families who live here.
In typical West Carleton fashion, we had challenges with the internet and officials couldn’t report results back to the Elections Ottawa office, delaying the process. It wasn’t until 11:30 pm they were able to confirm I had won.
But I had already made my speech by then so people could go home. Because, again, it didn’t matter whether I had won or lost. Either way, my message in that speech was going to be exactly the same. And that is one of simple gratitude for where I'm from and for the people who make West Carleton-March such an amazing place to grow up and live.
I approach each day as your Councillor with that same gratitude. I love this community and it is an absolute honour to be your representative at City Hall. Thank you again for putting your trust in me.
Photos below are Councillor Kelly with family, friends and supporters on election night last year (at The Lighthouse in Constance Bay) and at his swearing in ceremony at City Hall.