By JAYMIE L. WHITE
Special to the Appalachian
KIPPENS — The new Kippens Town Council was elected on Nov. 30. Six new councillors were sworn in during their first public meeting on Dec. 3, a meeting that was viewed by over 700 people who tuned into the livestream via the Town of Kippens’ Facebook page. Each new councillor has a vision for the Town of Kippens.
Regina (Jeannie) Duffenais
Duffenais is thrilled to be serving as Deputy Mayor and shared that the new council is wasting no time getting started.
“I’m excited, energized, and overwhelmed,” said Duffenais. “I’m scared, but I’m positive, and I feel residents have waited a long time to see this change and they demonstrated that at the polls with their voting.”
Duffenais said the council may be new, but the new councillors have the right attitude to be successful.
“I think there is going to be a huge learning curve because we are all new, and we don’t know each other that well, but I think our common goals are keeping us connected – the common interest in wanting to do good for our community."
Duffenais said her biggest hope, aside from improving transparency within town council, is to bring back the pride within Kippens.
“I want us to work together as a team in the best interest of all the residents of our town. The residents gave us a strong mandate. It surprised everybody and I want us to remain focused. Remember why we ran in this campaign. Remember who we ran for – our town and our residents. If we keep that in the forefront of all decisions we have to make, I think we will be successful,” said Duffenais.
Pearce is thankful for the vote of confidence from residents who have chosen her as one of their new representatives.
“I’m very exited to see what the next four years will bring. I feel like we have a very diverse team, with a wide-range of expertise, skills, and knowledge that will hopefully come together to be a tremendous benefit to the residents,” said Pearce.
Pearce is happily anticipating the positive teamwork and partnerships that will help ensure citizens of Kippens have their concerns recognized and their needs accommodated.
“A big hope of mine is we will work together collaboratively as a team to ensure residents needs are prioritized, and that we’ll be effective problem solvers,” said Pearce. “I look forward to becoming a formal support for residents, to advocate on their behalf, and work as a team, not only with council, but with town employees, residents, and other community partners.”
Pearce said that with the fresh start that council offers, she hopes to see the Town thrive in every aspect.
“I hope to see Kippens as a community, being more cohesive with people feeling a sense of pride within their community,” said Pearce. “I’d like to see increased support for wellness and culture, these are some of the pieces I feel very strongly about.”
Power is proud and honoured to be chosen to serve as a councillor in Kippens, the town where she spent her childhood.
“I hope we head in a new, cohesive direction,” said Power. “I want to see more transparency involving what is going on. That really needs to happen. I’m really proud of this council and I have this renewed energy that I want to share with the Town. I want to revamp things that need it, and honour the things that don’t.”
Power said the diversity on council will help propel Kippens into a positive direction.
“We all come from different backgrounds, but we all want Kippens to be better, to be a happier place,” said Power. “Our diversity is important and there is room for everyone to shine. I think the council will shine because we are willing to work with each other and I think we are going to see that as time goes on.”
Power looks forward to being an advocate for residents and part of helping to grow the town.
“I think Kippens has great potential,” said Power. “We have a lovely rec program up here that is utilized by Stephenville. We have such potential to make our little town better for everyone, including the elderly. I think we can incorporate things for every age so we can all benefit. After COVID, everyone wants a fresh start, and I want to be their voice.”
Doucette pointed out that like his fellow councillors he is new to the role, but he promises to always do his best for the town.
“I hope I can live up to the task of serving the people of Kippens. That’s why I have butterflies, because I want to make sure I can represent Kippens well,” noted Doucette. “I would like to get the people of Kippens more involved. I want the people helping the council run Kippens.”
Doucette looks forward to getting his ideas across and giving community members the chance to help shape the town's future.
“It would be great to have committees for various needs that Kippens has, like a farming committee or a water and sewer committee,” said Doucette. “When I was talking to different people before the election, quite a few people were saying how nice it would be for them to get out and involved in the Town, and committees would be a great way to achieve that.”
Doucette envisions a prosperous future, full of growth and success.
“I see Kippens growing along with Stephenville,” said Doucette. “We have to have a strategic plan for at least 25 years down the road. That’s how Kippens is going to grow. Kippens has to have more farming, to develop an industrial zone. There’s so many things Kippens can be involved in that haven’t been mentioned before. We have to get a strategic plan in place.”
Young has the residents of Kippens at the forefront of his thoughts as he prepares to do his part as a town councillor.
“I’m feeling great about the election – very excited to start working, get things moving, and bring a lot of fresh ideas and energy to the community,” said Young. “I want to build a strong community, start investing in infrastructure, create more recreational opportunities for families, and really make Kippens a better place to raise their families and grow old.”
Young sees numerous possibilities on the horizon that he is more than happy to lend his voice to.
“I look forward to seeing things come to fruition and to be able to create more incentives and opportunities for the residents,” said Young. “In the next few years, I’m hoping to see more infrastructure, whether it’s a new community center, new recreational facilities, splash pad for the children, and I want to build on that to give the residents more opportunities.”
Young is excited to be a part of the town's new beginning and looks forward to collaborating with other members of council.
“I’m hoping with our new council, we will come together with the community in mind,” said Young. “I am extremely humble so the support the community has given me and their trust for me to be sitting at the table.”
Michelle MacIsaac declined the request for an interview at this time.