New Morden Mayor gets to work

Brandon Burley, pictured with his family. (SUPPLIED)

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After winning almost as many votes as his two opponents combined, Brandon Burley has been elected as Morden’s new mayor.
Burley won 1,334 votes, beating out challengers Karla Warkentin (1,112) and Ron McClain (267).
“I’m very thankful,” Burley said. “I’ve planned for this for five years but for it to actually happen was a little overwhelming in terms of the support I got from this community.”
Burley said the support he received from the community indicated Morden was ready for a step forward. “I’m not from here, I’ve been in the province for 16 years and down here for just under 11,” he said. “To me it was an exciting indication that the city was going to move not just on personalities anymore, but also on ideas and the vision that they had for the community.”
“I would like to thank the citizens of Morden for their confidence,” he added. “It’s not a confidence I take lightly, it’s an absolute privilege and honour to be able to serve in this capacity.”
Burley said a lot of his campaign came down to hard work. “We beat down doors, we had a lot of community members who supported us initially,” he said. “There were a lot of people who took me under their wing and really helped not only guide me in the right direction but to the right people, and without them it certainly wouldn’t have been possible.”
He also said he was thankful for opponents Warkentin and McClain for a clean campaign based on ideas. “I think good communities are based on good ideas,” he said. “Our community is at a crossroads where the decisions we make in the next 10 years are going to affect us for 100 years. The vision we share for what our community could be will decide what our community becomes.”
“As our community grew, it wasn’t just that council makes a decision and everybody gets to dissect it around a coffee shop,” he added. “Not everybody has those coffee shop connections so we need to make sure that those things can be disseminated in an appropriate way as close to the source as possible.”
Burley said the city has a lot of momentum going, and he wants to ensure that the city is able to support businesses moving forward.
“We also need to get to work on addressing issues at every level of the economy, from affordable housing, infrastructure, transportation all the way to revitalizing Stephen Street, ensuring safety so you can move forward” he said. “There’s a lot of pieces that are codependent. The decisions I will support and put forward are ones that increase the quality of living for residents that are here now, and I believe those are ones that will drive tourism and will drive all the other components of the economy as well.”
Burley said he’s especially excited about being able to weigh in on issues that he holds close to his heart. “The goal I have for that increased influence is raising awareness and facilitating development around mental health,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve experienced firsthand and I’ve learned through the help of many great people that I was stronger than I thought I was.”
“I had determined when I was going through that if I made it through the other side that I would be that kind of person for everybody who comes behind me,” he added. “To me that is a foundational thing with regards to health. If we have people who are suffering from mental health issues who are taken out of commission because of those issues it affects our economy. The more I’ve campaigned and the more I’ve met people in this community the more I realize it’s very prevalent in our community and it’s very hidden.”