With the incumbent Jeff Henry choosing not to run for re-election, Ward 6 in Waterloo was wide open for someone new to step in and make their mark. The election was a close race between Matthew Schwarze and Mary Lou Roe separated by only 97 votes. Jonathan Cassels and Karen Fischer round out the bottom two spots. Mary Lou Roe was ultimately chosen to be the Ward 6 councillor.
Schwarze and Roe had similar platforms and both choose their main priorities to be affordable housing and climate action. All four of the candidates, in fact, focused on affordable housing and climate change and offered competing proposals on how they would address these issues.
Some of the main differences between the top two candidates were Schwarze put his eyes on making transit and getting around Waterloo better and safer. On her website, Roe said she wanted to build a community to make everyone feel like they belong in Waterloo no matter their “ethnicity, age, ability, gender identity, lack of adequate housing, employment, mental health issues, and more.”
Schwarze targeted students as his main demographic and pushed for them to get out and vote. Students are a major part of Ward 6 with student housing and residential building making up a big part of the ward. But ultimately it seemed like the push was not enough, with Ward 6 having the lowest turnout of any ward with 23.7 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot.
Mary Lou Roe ultimately came out on top winning 32 percent of the vote. Her first thought after winning the race was: “I’m so honoured that the residents of Ward 6 have put their faith in me. It’s been such a great experience to meet so many people and listen to their stories. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better and being the bridge between you and city hall.”
Roe will be the first new councillor in Ward 6 in nearly a decade. Roe said her first actions will be to, “Listen and learn. To residents, council, and city staff with expertise. Understand what’s happening now and any gaps I can help fill. And how to be the most effective city councillor and be available to my constituents in meaningful ways.”