Jyoti Gondek becomes 1st woman to serve as Calgary mayor

Click to play video: 'Calgary elects first female mayor in city history'
Calgary elects first female mayor in city history
Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek speaks to supporters after her historic win in the 2021 Calgary municipal election. – Oct 19, 2021

Global News is projecting Calgary has elected its first female mayor: Jyoti Gondek. She follows Mayor Naheed Nenshi as a racialized Calgarian sitting in the mayor’s chair.

A one-term councillor, with a background in city planning, Gondek received 45 per cent of the vote on Monday with 253 of 259 tabulators reporting.

Click to play video: 'Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek speaks after historic win'
Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek speaks after historic win

“As your mayor, I will lead with courage, with conviction, and with humility,” Gondek said during her victory speech. “I will be with you every step of the way as we encounter the unknown and we make our way through unforeseen challenges.

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“It has been an absolute privilege to run in this election and highlight all of the things that are important to you. It will now be an honor to serve as your mayor — wow — and support you into a future that is ours to shape.”

While thanking her campaign team, volunteers and family, Gondek credited her deceased father with her entering public service.

Click to play video: '‘I’m optimistic’: Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek speaks to Global News'
‘I’m optimistic’: Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek speaks to Global News

“It was actually his unfinished community service that I picked up in 2003 that has brought me to this point in my life,” she said. “My attention to Seva, to service — that’s all his legacy.”

The former Ward 3 councillor’s platform promises include an inclusive approach to economic resilience, building out the Green Line as part of climate environmental resilience, addressing downtown revitalization, housing and homelessness, and pursuing a “fair deal” for Calgary from the province.

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Gondek announced her candidacy for mayor on Jan. 13. Since early September, polls saw Gondek build momentum to become one of two frontrunners, alongside Jeromy Farkas.

Farkas congratulated Gondek on becoming mayor-elect during his concession speech Monday evening.

“Thank you Jyoti for your tremendous service and your incredible vision of tremendous potential that you put forward for our city, and that platform that you’ve earned the trust of Calgarians to execute,” Farkas said.

“Your vision for a community of economic, social and environmental resilience beckons us as a reminder of the city that we’re so proud of, and we want to keep building.”

Click to play video: 'Jeromy Farkas congratulates Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek'
Jeromy Farkas congratulates Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek

Calgary Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Deborah Yedlin congratulated Gondek for her election.

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“Calgary is no stranger to challenges and economic uncertainty,” Yedlin said in a statement. “But we’ve seen time and again, that with bold leadership and thoughtful public policy, our city is capable of tackling complex challenges, developing innovative solutions and being the place where entrepreneurs, investors and talented individuals come to achieve their potential. We look forward to working with our new city council to achieve what we know our business community and our city is capable of.”

Michelle Rempel Garner, MP of Calgary Nose Hill, offered her “sincere congratulations” to the mayor-elect and a pair of other women elected to council: Jennifer Wyness and Jasmine Mian.

“Many talented Calgarians were elected to serve our community tonight both on City Council and in the Mayor’s office,” the statement from Rempel Garner said.

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Calgarians had 26 other candidates to choose from.

Nenshi will welcome the mayor-elect to office Tuesday morning at Old City Hall.

MRU political scientist Duane Bratt said outgoing Mayor Naheed Nenshi blazed a trail for Gondek to follow, especially in his selling of the city on the international stage.

“The fact that he was the front runner, the path setter is going to make life a lot easier for Gondek,” Bratt said. “Where Nenshi had difficulty was winning a lot of votes on council.

Click to play video: 'Jyoti Gondek faces ‘a lot of challenges’ as mayor of Calgary: political scientist Duane Bratt'
Jyoti Gondek faces ‘a lot of challenges’ as mayor of Calgary: political scientist Duane Bratt

“Let’s see if Jyoti Gondek can work better with a brand new council than at times Naheed Nenshi, because there was some friction that he had with councillors.”

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Global News has also projected the following winners in city wards:

Mayor-elect Gondek also said she hoped to tap into the expertise from her fellow mayoral candidates, as well as her fellow councillors-elect.

“I’m very excited about this prospect of creating a new team, one that prioritizes the well-being of Calgarians through ensuring that we understand our collective strength,” the mayor-elect said. “Your new council will pull together around a common vision that makes us more resilient as a city.

“We will set the bar high, to deliver on your expectations, and we will remain accountable to all of you.”

Yedlin added the new council faces a challenging term.

“The incoming City Council will face the challenging, yet critical task of bringing forward thoughtful public policy that embodies and empowers Calgary’s resilient, entrepreneurial and optimistic spirit,” Yedlin said.

Mayor and council will be sworn in at city hall on Monday, Oct. 25.
Click to play video: 'One-on-one with Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek on her historic win'
One-on-one with Calgary mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek on her historic win

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