TAKOMA PARK – Council member Kate Stewart (Ward 3) defeated late challenger Warren Holmes in the mayoral election Tuesday with 2,144 out of the about 2,400 counted votes.
Her agenda includes redefining engagement in the community, working on making Takoma Park an inclusive community and sustaining development.
Meanwhile, a referendum to align the city’s future municipal elections with federal elections passed with 1,872 votes.
In council races, Peter Kovar (Ward 1) beat two opponents with 630 votes, making him the top vote earner among the non-mayoral council candidates.
The other five council candidates all ran unopposed.
Rizzy Qureshi (Ward 3) replaced Stewart, taking 519 votes. Tim Male (Ward 2) won with 441 votes. Terry Seamens (Ward 4) earned 218 votes.
Jarrett Smith (Ward 5) claimed 149 votes and Fred Schultz (Ward 6) won with 206 votes.
Candidates sat and waited in the auditorium of the Takoma Park Community Center from 8 p.m. to about 11:30 p.m. Volunteers hand-counted ballots for mayor, city council and the referendum question.
Stewart, who was elected to Ward 3 in the special election in April 2014, said young votes are important for the future of the city.
She said she stopped by high schools to encourage 16 and 17 year olds to vote in municipal elections, which is legal in Takoma Park.
“Having more people participating in voting is always good for the community,” said Stewart. “Young people want to be heard, and once they start at a young age, hopefully it becomes habit.”
Top policy priorities for each council member-elect include:
- Kovar: police engagement with the community.
- Male: environmental issues and lowering bills
- Qureshi: serving underserved people in the community.
- Seamens: increasing affordable housing.
- Smith: a summer literacy program and food pantries in the city.
- Schultz: increasing affordable housing and pedestrian safety.
“We need safe crossroads during the construction of the purple line,” said Schultz. “What we can do in particular is work together with surrounding counties to ensure safety throughout the state.”