Maurizio Bevilacqua retains position as mayor of Vaughan after dominating victory

A relaxed, confident mood permeated the room of Maurizio Bevilacqua’s celebration headquarters at the Riviera Parque banquet hall in the early evening of election night — and for good reason.

The first round of counted ballots had just come in and the current incumbent held a comfortable 14,000-vote lead over the second place candidate, newcomer Daniel DeVito — a lead that continued to grow throughout the night, extending to more than 37,000, 78 per cent of total votes, by the time the final ballot was tallied.

The people had spoken loud and in near unison. Unlike in Toronto, where John Tory’s victory signalled a demand for change, Vaughan citizens opted to stay the course, turning once again to Bevilacqua and electing him as the city’s mayor for another four years.

After entering the hall to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” and making his way through a crowd of elated constituents and supporters, shaking hands and accepting hugs, the veteran politician took the stage to say thank you to the people that made his victory possible.

“To the over 315,000 people who speak 99 different languages, I want to express to you all my warmest and sincerest gratitude for the very strong mandate I received to once again lead this great city,” he said.

“Thank you Vaughan for so many things we’ve been able to accomplish over the past four years. We are now a respected community. We are a model community. We speak to those values that speak to the very best of what humanity is truly all about.”

He drew attention to how the city is continuing to grow and evolve, and noted the strides Vaughan has made since he was first elected mayor in 2010 — the hospital, the subway, the 427 extension, the creation of 15,000 new jobs that made Vaughan the leader in employment growth in the GTA, and the developing urban centre that will be the city’s new downtown core.

He also reaffirmed his commitment to the people.

“We can lead in incomes, we can lead in number of buildings, we can lead in profits, we can lead in all these things, and we can move this city forward, but never forget that this mayor will never leave anyone behind,” he said.

Bevilacqua also thanked his staff for their hard work, and dedicated the victory to his mother and father, who were also in attendance.

It was predicted long before election night that Bevilacqua was a virtual lock in this election, especially as city hall has been free of scandal under his command. When asked if he ever had any doubts going into this election, he explained there was a quiet confidence in his camp, one that was rooted in the hard work put forth in the past four years and the progress achieved.

“There are no shortcuts in public life. You have to earn it,” he said, noting that the response he’s received from the citizens of Vaughan over the past four years was a strong indication that they were pleased with the direction of the city.

Being mayor, he added, is something that he doesn’t take for granted. “Politics is always about improving and I plan to improve even further.”

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Michael Hill

Michael Hill