First-time Qualicum Beach candidate Anne Skipsey topped the polls in the Nov. 15 election with 3,032 votes — nearly 500 more than the candidate with the next highest total.
"I was surprised," said Skipsey of the outcome.
The new councillor believes there were a "number of factors" were at play. Perhaps most glaringly was her name.
"Obviously the name Skipsey rings a bell for many people," said returning Mayor Teunis Westbroek, referring to Anne's father Art Skipsey. Art was a Qualicum Beach alderman from 1975-77 and Mayor from 1977-90.
Anne agreed that this might have helped, but she said she didn't lean on her father's political history or advice in her campaign. In fact, Art said that while they "discussed things," he was more than happy to "stand back" and let his daughter form her own plans.
So, Anne chose to focus on her background in education and local government.
Anne worked for the city of Burnaby for 15 years. She said working with that city's mayor and council during this time gave her a good understanding of how a municipal government works and what issues local politicians commonly deal with in the chamber. Anne also said she learned a lot about team building, a skill she wants to apply to the issues of council cohesiveness.
"One of my strengths is my ability to work with anyone," she said, explaining that one of the key components to cohesiveness is recognizing that everyone sees issues through their own "lens."
Anne said she also believes having different perspectives on an issue is a boon. This is why she said her first priority is to bring back citizen committees (which was a hot topic at the all-candidates forums) in one form or another.
"I value the knowledge and expertise of other people," she said.
"I've seen them (committees) be very effective."
When it comes to education, Anne focused on her work with the Qualicum Beach Elementary School.
She was on the QBES PAC and when the school was slated for closure and she helped create and eventually co-chair the Qualicum Beach Community School Steering Committee.
She now is involved with the Qualicum Beach Education and Wellness Society, which focuses on multi-generational learning and wellness, though she said she'll step back a bit now that she has her new role.
Alongside life-long learning, Anne said she is passionate about building a healthy and vibrant community and protecting the environment and hopes to tackle these issues as a councillor.
After all, according to her campaign literature, she returned to Qualicum Beach with her husband, son and in-laws just over two years ago for a "sense of community and belonging," the "lifestyle" of Qualicum, being closer to her family and so her son could attend QBES.
This isn't lost on Westbroek, who said that from what he sees, Anne "deeply cares about the community" and wants to see Qualicum as "a place for all ages."
Art agreed. "She can represent the younger generation," he said. "She brings something new."
"I always wanted to do something to make a difference," said Anne.