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Outgoing mayor believes Ritsma will unify Stratford city council

Martin Ritsma won the mayoral race with 4,350 votes on Monday night. He will lead the new council -- with six new faces -- into the next term

The campaign may be over for Martin Ritsma, but the work is just beginning. 

The official results of the 2022 municipal election were released Tuesday, with Ritsma coming out on top. He takes over from Dan Mathieson who served in the office for twenty years. 

One of Mathieson’s achievements was bringing a University of Waterloo site to the Festival City, where he and many other candidates were during election night. 

Mathieson told StratfordToday that he’s confident that Ritsma will unify the council and move them towards a vision. 

“Anytime after elections the object is to bring council together, to create a cohesive team, and really start working together on how you're gonna move the city forward. Martin knows that. He's been on council for three terms. He's got lots of experience.”

On his Facebook page, Ritsma announced that he will be having a live stream on Oct. 25 at 4:00 p.m. and gave a succinct statement on his win: 

“Thank you to all that voted and showed your support!”

Ritsma comes to the role as a seasoned councillor and educator, having worked as a teacher and principal prior to his bid for mayor. He served as a councillor for a dozen years and deputy mayor for eight.

According to the official results, Ritsma had 4,350 votes, edging out Robert Ritz by 345 votes. 

Kathy Vassilakos was third with 3166 votes. Asked for comment, she wished Ritsma all the best in his upcoming term. 

The new term of council begins on Nov. 15, with the first council meeting slated for Nov. 21.

Both Ritsma and Ritz were contacted by StratfordToday, but did not get back by Noon on Tuesday.