Editor’s note: Tom Young is a Spacing Edmonton editor and was a volunteer on the Don Iveson for Mayor campaign. Although Spacing Edmonton enthusiastically supports participation in the political process, the views expressed here are his own.
After many months of hard campaigning, two-term City Councillor Don Iveson won Edmonton’s mayoral race with a resounding 62% of the vote, setting a new record for the number of votes received (132,162) by an Edmonton mayoral candidate. I was lucky enough to be able to photograph him throughout as a campaign volunteer, documenting him knocking on doors, attending a diverse and dizzying array of community events and forums, and finally, celebrating his victory in a crowded room of supporters at the election night party on October 21, 2013.
At 34, Don joins a collection of youthful mayors in major cities across the province: Calgary’s Nenshi is 41, Red Deer’s Veer is 35, Grande Prairie’s Given is 36, and Wood Buffalo’s fourth-term mayor Blake is 43. In the media it was frequently suggested that Don appealed primarily to a young demographic, but it became increasingly clear as the campaign progressed that Don’s appeal was much broader than that. Campaign volunteers, nearly 1,000 of them, represented a wide range of backgrounds and age groups. The positive responses he received at senior’s centres, at schools and universities, from small business owners, at Ramadan celebrations, in gospel churches and Sikh community centres spoke to his widespread appeal and ability to connect with and understand the issues of the entire spectrum of Edmontonians. Whether talking about the challenges of integrating immigrant communities, encouraging more affordable infill housing, fostering a “can-do” civic culture, or making sure potholes are filled and streets repaired, Don was always articulate and responsive to his audience.
I am very proud to have played a role in the election of this energetic, affable, and intensely thoughtful and generous man. The next four years will no doubt be interesting to watch, and I expect that wherever he leads us, it will always be forward, never back.
All photos © Tom Young 2013.