Despite being an incumbent, Ann-Marie Kungl says she wasn’t taking anything for granted leading up to Monday night’s election results in Barrie, which saw her win back her Ward 3 seat in what can only be described as a landslide victory.
Kungl first joined council in March 2020 after winning a byelection necessitated by the resignation of councillor Doug Shipley after he was elected as Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP in the fall 2019 federal election.
Kungl, who will return to council to represent the north-end ward, told BarrieToday that although the response she received during the campaign was positive, a candidate can never be entirely sure if what they hear at the door is truly representative of the people who actually take the time to vote.
“I didn’t know how to validate the positive feedback I was getting, so (last night) was that feedback for me, and it’s so lovely," she said.
With 2,001 votes out of the 2,752 votes cast, Kungl admitted she was feeling overwhelmed by the support.
“It’s always good to have competition because you get great feedback, and my heart is so full,” she said. “It makes me feel like the residents are happy, that we are connected and that the work we are doing is meaningful to them. I am just overjoyed about the response and the support they’ve shown me.”
Kungl said returning to council for a second term will allow her to be even more effective this time around, having already learned the ropes while on the job.
“It’s great because I feel like I can be that much more effective and available to other councillors that are coming in for the first time — and providing some continuity to some of the stuff that we have been moving forward that I think is important and continue to ensure we make progress on,” she said. “It will be interesting, but I think there’s a great mix of individuals coming back this term and then new councillors that are joining in on conversations and how we shape the next four years.”
First on her agenda would be to set a positive team dynamic, she said.
“The campaign is a whole different process than it is around representing your constituency and the city as a whole. I think it’s important to ensure that we connect as a group and are focused on a way forward," Kungl said.
Ensuring council sets a positive tone for establishing priorities is also key, as is ensuring “healthy and open” dialogue between all members of council.
Kungl said although each member of council will “show up differently,” she feels confident this new iteration will be able to work together for the betterment of the city and its residents.
“Everyone will have a different style, but I have worked with many different leaders around how they approach things and I believe we all start with needing to focus on (knowing) we all come with the best of intentions,” she said. “If we do that, we can focus on the needs of Barrie and not anything outside of partisan politics. If we can make sure it’s about the citizens of Barrie first, and the health and well-being of the city at large, then I think we will be fine.”
Looking forward to the next four years, Kungl said she’s excited to continue on several issues that had been top of mind leading up to the election.
“We have some really great strategies between the affordable housing task group, a new Official Plan, a vision for the theatre and the marketplace, so in addition to that we have strong financial protocols and strategy, a strong staff that will embrace this council … and if we make sure we listen to their advice from a skill set and expertise (standpoint) we will do very well."