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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Tecumseh Mayor elected as new County Council Warden

by Kyle Reid

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara was selected as Essex County Councils new ‘Mayor of Mayors’. McNamara received the support of his colleagues, and took his official oath, as the new County Council Warden last Wednesday evening, during the 2018-2022 term of Essex County Council’s inaugural meeting.

“I’m honoured and it’s always a privilege being recognized, certainly, by your peers around the table,” McNamara said after the meeting. “Twenty years ago, right around now, was when I was first elected to County Council and I’m excited, obviously, and very humbled.”

McNamara was first elected to Tecumseh Town Council in 1991. He would go on to serve a term as Deputy Mayor in 1998, and has served five terms as Mayor since 2003.

But McNamara is no stranger to taking on a leadership role with County Council either. He served as County Council Deputy Warden from 2000 to 2003, and from 2010 to 2014. He replaces outgoing Warden Tom Bain, who served three terms as Warden (including a one-year term in 1993), and two longer stints spanning from 2011 to 2018. Bain will continue serving on County Council as the Mayor of Lakeshore.

McNamara said he feels that Council has been directing the County in a positive direction under past leadership, and he’s looking to maintain that course.

“I just want to continue what my predecessors have done before me,” McNamara said.

And with the torch officially passed, McNamara said he’s planning on hitting the ground running to tackle some key issues.

He noted a need to improve County infrastructure, the development of a new mega-hospital, and working to prevent a portion of the provincial deficit from being pushed onto the County as some of the challenges with which the new Council will contend. McNamara also said he is looking forward to working closely with City of Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens to tackle any and all regional issues.

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos challenged McNamara for the Warden’s chair on Wednesday, creating a difficult decision for their council colleagues, but one where the feeling was that they couldn’t go wrong.

In the end, Council elected to go in a slightly different direction, electing McNamara for his first term as Warden. Santos was later appointed Deputy Warden by acclamation.

Santos has served in both the Warden and Deputy Warden roles since joining County Council in 2000, and called the combined County Council experience that both he and McNamara bring to the table a, “good one-two punch.”

The new members of County Council were also sworn in on Wednesday evening, with five new faces taking the oath alongside their veteran County Council colleagues. 


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