/images/DSC01605.jpg" align=left vspace=4 border=2 > Chatham-Kent officially has a new Mayor, flanked by 5 new council members. The Council Chambers were packed this evening as family members, friends, spectators, and Korean guests gathered to watch the swearing in ceremony as snow flurries dusted the roads outside.
After "O Canada" was played on the overhead video screens, Town Crier George Sims rang his bell and proclaimed the election results to be in as he started the inauguration with flourish. Pastor Gord Reynolds of Gregory Drive Alliance Church read some scriptures and prayed that the new council would receive God's wisdom.
Municipal Clerk Elinor Mifflin recited the names of the new council, including new members Marjorie Crew, Sheldon Parsons, Steve Pickard, Steve Pinsonneault, and Art Stirling.
Pastor Reynolds reminded the politicians that they are obligated to fulfill their civic duty and sacred trust, and charged them to represent everyone in society whether they voted or not. He also stated that the change on council does not assure progress.
Judge Stephen Fuerth called on council to follow in the footsteps of the great leaders who have gone before. "You are here tonight not by reason of your choice, but rather because of the choice that others made for you."
Randy Hope was sworn in first as mayor, reading his oath and stumbling over the pronunciation of the word "pecuniary," a word commonly used during council meetings but unknown to Hope, this being his first time in council chambers. The Honourable Stephen Fuerth presented the chain of office. As Hope took his chair, the rest of council stood to recite their oath.
Master Sun Jung, a local businessman who accompanied Hope on his controversial secret trip to South Korea, came forward to make a presentation to the new mayor on behalf of the visiting delegation.
Jullian Belanger read greetings from Chatham-Kent's two MPs, Bev Shipley and Dave Van Kesteren. Mike Ferguson followed with words from MPP Maria Van Bommel and Pat Hoy.
In his inaugural address, Mayor Hope first thanked his family and Korean delegation. During the campaign, Hope began every forum lamenting that he lost his wife in 2004 to cancer at age 45, but this evening he suddenly had a new wife whom he finally mentioned for the first time.
In Hope's speech, he vowed that his priorities are strength and power building.
"If we work together as a community without fearful and intimidation, divided between municipal hall and our residents, collectively we can progress."
Hope admonished those who work independently and secretly without respect for municipal hall, claiming Chatham-Kent has every resource to move forward much faster than it has. Speaking in his usual style, Hope continued, coincidentally sounding like the outcome of a poor Korean to English translation.
"There is no doubt in my mind of the significant change that has to take place in the emotional, physical financial climate in business and in business investment. With the new wave of how general business and industry is conducted so much that the new wave of participation be adopted by Chatham-Kent towards the financial development and subsequently the increase of prosperity for our community. This means both rural and urban. We must appropriately redefine and learn to respect the retail business, the industry, the agricultural business, the labour and our further reach in domestic business landscape to maximize our urban rural development in both trade and tourism all the while securing our collective identity as well as the identity of each of our community[s] in Chatham-Kent.
"We will become a council, a municipal governing body, a community envied by other communities and admired by many. The most important ingredient is a mayor and a council and administration to have the same direction, attitude, responsible nature whereby resulting can be the securing of every abundance for our community."
Hope's goal is not to favour one individual, group, or public body, but to favour everyone.
Mayor Hope concluded by admittedly twisting John F. Kennedy's famous saying by asking what those elected and so empowered can do for the people of Chatham-Kent. Hope then proposed that he was starting as mayor for the first of three 4-year terms.
A reception was held following the ceremony in the atrium of the Civic Centre.
Watch the entire inauguration in Windows Video format. 17.9 MB