By Joe Konecny

Aylmer Express / Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The October 24, 2022 municipal election race is beginning to get interesting in Central Elgin. Incumbent Mayor Sally Martyn confirmed on Monday that she will not be running for office again, and a second ‘fresh new face’ has placed her name on the ballot as a candidate for councillor.

“I have not planned to run again for mayor, as I believe in allowing others to lead,” said Martyn, a four-term veteran on Council. “I did not want to announce my intentions until (Ward 2 Councillor) Dennis (Crevits) confirmed that he was running for mayor.

“It’s important that people have a choice,” added Martyn. She launched a career in politics in 2006, becoming Ward 2 Councillor, and served two four-year terms, with an acclamation in 2010. She was elected deputy mayor in 2014 and mayor in 2018. “I have been on council for 16 years and believe it is time to step back to make way for others.

“Many of the things I wanted to accomplish have happened even throughout the pandemic,” she said. Martyn, 74, is a life-long Sparta resident, living on her great grandfather’s historic mixed-use farm. A teacher for 26 years at Sparta Public School, she retired in 2003. “I am proud of all we have accomplished. I will continue to serve on the environment committee as a member at large and also Heritage Central Elgin as a Ward 2 representative.”

So far, only Crevits has announced his intention to run for mayor, however, Deputy Mayor Tom Marks and David Marr – Central Elgin’s mayor from 2014 to 2018 – are widely rumoured to be considering the opportunity.

Meanwhile, Morgaine Halpin, 32, of Roberts Line, a Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) supply teacher, has registered her intention to pursue the Ward 2 Council seat soon to be vacated by Crevits. Decendent of the Loyalist Griffin and Lidster families who settled in the region in the 1800s, Halpin, her husband Anthony, and their three children – Elliot, Robin and Sage – share a three-acre farm just south of Sparta.

Port Stanley’s Michelle Graham, 53, is the other fresh new face on the 2022 ballot. The senior health care industry consultant registered early to run for Ward 1 Councillor.

TVDSB Trustee Meagan Ruddock has also declared her candidacy for Central Elgin Deputy Mayor. A medical secretary at the Elmdale Health Centre, in St. Thomas, Ruddock is a life-long Central Elgin resident who now lives in Port Stanley. Ruddock was first elected as an Elgin County trustee in the 2018 municipal election, representing Bayham, Central Elgin, Dutton Dunwich, West Elgin, the townships of Malahide and Southwold, the Town of Aylmer and the City of St. Thomas. In 2019 and 2020, Ruddock served as the Board’s vice-chair.

While Ward 5 Councillor Fiona Wynn has announced she will not run again, many Central Elgin Council incumbents have not yet registered re-election campaigns, including Deputy Mayor Marks, Ward 1 Councillor Colleen Row, Ward 3 Councillor Karen Cook and Ward 4 Councillor Bill Fehr.

Casey Siebenmorgen, a candidate in the 2018 Central Elgin mayoral race, is considering another electoral challenge, however, the Port Stanley business owner has yet to decide on the position he will pursue.

As of June 13, 2022, no other candidates were noted on Central Elgin’s Unofficial List of Candidates. The nomination period is open until August 19, 2022.