Kenora voters have chosen their new Mayor and council. The newest addition to the team is Kirsi Ralko. The local lawyer and business owner is the only councillor without a previous term under her belt. Ralko is also the youngest voice at the table at 28 years old. But that won’t slow her down.
“It might add some pressure, but I do look forward to working with such an experienced group. I have great respect for everyone else who has been elected, and I think I can learn a lot from such experienced people,” she said.
Ralko pressed voters during her campaign to elect any, or all, of the female candidates. She stressed the importance of supporting women in politics, and having a female voice on council. She is now one of two females councillors, along with incumbent Sharon Smith.
“I feel great about that. I think voters really responded to that being one of my messages. I actually got an email this morning that put it in a nice way that the amount of women on council has doubled. So, mission accomplished,” she said.
Ralko, a Thunder Bay native, explained a bit about her background for those who aren’t familiar with her.
“I’m a lawyer in town. I’m also business owner, and my husband is a lifelong Kenora resident. I’ve been here full time since 2014, and I’m very much looking forward to serving,” she explained.
She explained what she was doing on election night, and how she felt.
“My husband and I decided to watch the election results from home. I was furiously refreshing the AMO website, and my first notification actually was a text message from our advertising guy because he saw the results before I did. That’s how I learned I had gotten a seat. It was very exciting. It was an exhausting campaign period so, it was very rewarding to know that people responded to my campaign and people would like me to represent them for the next four years,” she said.
She touched on one of the main issues she’d like to tackle as a councillor.
“The housing issue has been discussed over and over again at the forums and throughout the campaign. I understand there are already some great initiatives underway so, I’m glad to have some incumbents on council. I look forward to seeing what’s underway and what we can start up for the future,” she said.
Ralko is joined on council by incumbents Mort Goss, Rory McMillan, and Sharon Smith, as well as former councillors Andrew Poirier and Chris Van Walleghem, as well as Mayor elect Dan Reynard.
The first Committee of the Whole meeting for the new mayor and council is scheduled for Tuesday December 11.