There’s a new Reeve in the RM of Stuartburn.  

Long-time Vita resident, Michelle Gawronsky, who was elected Wednesday night, had this response to the news that she won.  

“Honored, would be the best word I could use to define how I felt. To be recognized and accepted and supported by my neighbors, my friends, and my family that live in the community. Just to know that the people have faith in me and that I'll be able to bring our issues forward and be able to work well for our RM is my goal. I can't say the excitement that I feel in the next chapter that we're moving forward and moving our community forward.” 

After all the ballots were tallied up, Gawronsky had 386 votes while incumbent David Kiansky had 189. 

Gawronsky has spent 37 years in healthcare, as a healthcare aide, then as an EMS coordinator, paramedic, and activity director and now she conducts independent audits in healthcare facilities.   

Thinking back to when she decided to run for Reeve, Gawronsky admits that after she was no longer MGEU president she felt a little bit lost.  

“I've always served people, whether it's working in healthcare, running an ambulance service, or working as a union rep, I've always been there to serve people and help. Then with COVID and not having that position anymore, it was kind of like ok, where am I? I considered running for town council, to be the councilor for the Ward of Vita, but I had two different groups of folks that approached me saying, 'You know, with your experience with your knowledge and past experience, would I consider for Reeve?” 

She was capable of the task. Gawronsky remembers helping her husband with his campaign and the many council meetings. Roman Gawronsky was councilor for Ward 3 from 1998 to 2009, when he passed away from cancer.  So, she had the experience.  

As to what her focus will be going into the four-year term, she says, “the first thing I see is that we need to be working together as a whole municipality. We can't be pitting neighbor against neighbor and Hamlet against Hamlet. We need to be moving forward in ways that are going to benefit our whole municipality no matter what. I also see us being very open and having good communication. My home has always been open. It’s one of the things that I learned many, many years ago, to be able to sit back, listen to what folks are saying, and to be able to understand what the concerns are. Then to be able to move it forward in a way that's going to be productive for everyone. So, I see our council meetings as being very open and honest and listening to the constituents and what their concerns are. Never leave a question there, but make sure that everyone understands what's going on and be able to listen to everyone. I have full faith that the Council that's been elected alongside me has definitely the same goals in mind.” 

Gawronsky says she is excited to help bring the RM of Stuartburn into the forefront of one of the best places to live in southeastern Manitoba. “We've got so much potential and so much growth here that we can contribute to the rest of Manitoba, and we need to make sure that we continue to do.” 

When it comes to the challenges she says, as a council they will need to face them head-on, she refers to the water issues especially all the flooding of recent years. The area has been hit twice in recent years. In the fall of 2019 floodwater caused $350,000 in damages and then this spring there was another $500,000 of damages incurred.   

Gawronsky says, “In dealing with the province, I believe that they've got a plan, you know or a bit of a plan in mind. And I'm going to, together with council, bring forward ideas as to how we can solve the water issues, while still keeping us on friendly terms with both the RM of Piney, the RM of Emerson/Franklin, Hanover, and De Salaberry. There are ways that we can all be working together to make sure that water issues are taken care of.” 

She also notes that another concern of her’s is their health facility. “We need it back. It absolutely needs to be recognized that residents of the southeast needs full-fledged services. And not just for us on our end, but also for those that actually use the facility. Like people from St Pierre and Steinbach’s Bethesda Hospital. If all of us keep getting pushed to 1 central area it delays services for everyone. So, we need that recognized and we absolutely need to ensure that we are having the same health services that we had before.” 

Gawronsky will also be working on getting up to speed on some of the other concerns RM of Stuartburn residents have had, including Hwy 201 and the promise the province made to bring it up to RT standards.  

RM of Stuartburn council meetings take place on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings of each month. Gawronsky invites anyone with questions to contact her at the RM office.  

“And again, I welcome anyone into my backyard to sit down and have any discussions at any time. My doors will always be open.” 

Gawronsky is the first woman Reeve in the RM of Stuartburn.  

Meanwhile, in a press release from the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, 730,000 votes were cast. In total 45% of officials are newly elected with 22 female Heads of Council, which is up 21 from the 2018 election - a new Manitoba record. While 1380 candidates ran for municipal office, which was down from 2018 and 864 individuals were elected. The same proportion of women elected overall, which was 20% was the same as in 2018, and a larger proportion of candidates were also women this year. 

Finally, in appreciation to all the residents of the RM, Gawronsky says, “I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for the support of those that signed my nomination papers, for giving me an opportunity to serve and to be there for them in a new capacity. I've been a part of the community for the last 38 years and I hope to be able to be a strong voice going forward. I want to be able to work with you. 

“A huge thank you to everyone. We can and we will make our RM the strongest it's ever been for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren, and for future generations. And I am really, really excited to be taking this next step in moving us forward. Thank you to everyone. My heartfelt thanks to everyone.”