CTV reporter to represent uptown

Local television journalist Melissa Durrell came away victorious in Waterloo’s Uptown Ward 7. She was one of five women, including Mayor Brenda Halloran, who won their ballots in Waterloo. Durrell finished with 1,653 votes, ahead of Peter Woolstencroft with 987, Erin Epp with 819 and Duncan McLean with 616.

“Well, it means I’m no longer a reporter and I’m a politician,” Durrell said after the results were announced. “It’s kind of an exciting change of life in my late thirties.” Durrell will give up her position as a reporter at CTV Southwestern Ontario with her victory.

“I keep saying I’m not your typical politician because I’m good at asking the tough questions,” she said. “I think that’s what journalists do so well is give a voice to those who don’t normally have one and I think that’s an important job of a politician as well.”

She talked about her campaign, organized in part by her father Jim, the former mayor of Ottawa. “He’s been an amazing mentor,” she said. “He came down the first week I put my name in and basically set me up.”

“I’ve met a lot of amazing people in Uptown Waterloo and I’m looking forward to working hard for them,” she added, emphasizing that her campaign was rooted in both traditional community engagement and social media.

“I door-knocked every door,” she explained, “I also ran a social media campaign. I tweeted all day, I Facebooked, I don’t know, maybe that helped?”
With the large concentration of students in Ward 7, Durrell emphasized working with Waterloo’s universities moving forward in her term.

“I want to work with the students and administration at Wilfrid Laurier and see if we can make this city a little bit safer,” she said.
However, she expressed skepticism that she had connected with the student community during her campaign.

When asked about the role of student voters, she replied, “I don’t know, do you think I did engage students? I’m not sure.”

She mentioned her opponent Erin Epp and explained that she would like to collaborate with Epp and Ward 6 councillor-elect Jeff Henry on student issues including housing. “I think she did a really good job of engaging the students,” she said of Epp. “Hopefully I can learn something from her.”

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