A year after she stepped down following a six-year stint on the dais, Bev Reponen will return to City Council after defeating community activist Martha Bryant-Hall with 74.2 percent of the vote to win Seat 2 in the March 11 election.
Weeks worth of walking door-to-door during her campaign – enough to wear out the soles in her favorite sneakers – paid off for the soon-to-be three-term councilwoman.
“It feels good to be back,” Reponen said smiling amongst supporters at her victory party at Sam Snead’s in Maitland.
Reponen will replace terming-out Councilwoman Linda Frosch when she’s sworn into office on April 14.
Also on its way into the books will be a ban on billboards built into the city’s charter. An amendment proposed to prohibit – with extra force – the potential development of already-banned billboards will be added to the charter after receiving an overwhelming 82.8 percent of the vote.
“Maitland will not have another billboard for a very long time, if not forever, and not without a voter referendum,” city board member Dale McDonald said.
McDonald was there to read the final election results to Reponen in the restaurant where her supporters gathered to celebrate. Applause from tables across the room rang out with the final word that she’d captured 1,268 of the 1,751 votes cast in the race for the Council Seat 2.
“It’s a very sunny outlook for Maitland now,” she said.
Reponen was first elected to Seat 3 on the Maitland City Council in 2007 after serving for more than a decade on both the city’s Lakes Advisory Board and Personnel Board. She served on Council for the maximum of two consecutive three-year terms before taking a year off in 2013 and then deciding to re-run for the only open seat this election season against Bryant-Hall. Councilman John Lowndes had been automatically reelected after no opposition came forward to challenge him for Seat 4.
“I can say now, the residents will be heard,” Reponen said. “Because honestly, right now, I don’t think they’re being heard, and that’s why I did this.”
Reponen said she had no plans to ever run for Council again after her last term ended, but was so angered over lack of plans for lake protection and from fielding complaints of residents about the goings on during her absence, she didn’t have a choice.
“I just had to get back up there,” she said.