Fort Smith deputy mayor Jay Macdonald will be the next Thebacha MLA, defeating incumbent Frieda Martselos.
Macdonald picked up 483 votes to Martselos’ 416, Elections NWT’s unofficial results stated, with Connie Benwell collecting 95 votes.
He told Cabin Radio he had worked to gain the trust of younger voters aged 18 to 35, who he said “didn’t have a voice in the last election.”
“I spent a lot of time talking to young families and encouraging them to get out. They’re our future. They need to have a voice and they need to be engaged, or get behind a leader that will support them,” Macdonald said after his victory was confirmed on Tuesday night.
He heads to the 20th Legislative Assembly planning to focus on addressing the cost of living in Fort Smith, the territory’s housing crisis and the plight of the NWT’s regions.
“That needs to really be a focus of the 20th Assembly, to look at how things are centralized into the capital and see what we can do collaboratively to decentralize some of that work,” he said.
“I know it was a commitment from the last couple of assemblies, and I think we need to do a better job.
“I really look forward to the opportunity. I think there’s a huge amount of potential across the North and I think we need to work really hard to strengthen the regions.”
Macdonald thanked his supporters for their hard work and added a thanks to “the whole community” for what he said was a hard-fought election in which he had “very valuable” conversations that will inform the issues he brings to the legislature.
“I hope to do everyone proud and live up to their expectations – as my wife just said to me a few minutes ago,” he joked.