Natasha Kulikowski is Inuvik’s new mayor.
With 563 total votes, Kulikowski is Inuvik’s first female mayor since 1982, and one of four of the Northwest Territories’ newly elected female mayors.
Vince Sharpe was the other mayoral candidate. He recieved a total of 176 votes.
A total of 739 votes were cast in Inuvik’s mayoral election.
“I’m super excited and I can’t wait to serve the people of Inuvik!” said Kulikowski. “The last time we had a female mayor was the year that I was born, so it’s time. The trend across the NWT so far seems to be that we’re putting females in this position, so I think that’s really exciting for the whole territory.”
Kulikowski, who has been a town councillor for three and a half years, said she received the news from her scrutineers and the town’s senior Administrative Officer around 9:30 p.m. Oct. 15.
She said she also received a congratulatory phone call from her opponent, Vince Sharpe.
Kulikowski has been living, working and volunteering in Inuvik for 17 years. In an earlier interview with the Inuvik Drum, she said she realized seven years ago that she wanted to see some changes in the community, so she got involved with town council to make it happen.
Although she ran for a councillor position that year, she lost by just two votes.
“I continued to volunteer after that, and then decided to run for a councillor spot in the next election, which I won,” she said. “I knew at some point I wanted to be mayor as well, be the face of town and be out there representing Inuvik, so this is my opportunity to do that.”
Now that she’s the new face of Inuvik, her first order of business as mayor will be keeping lines of communication open.
“First, I want to properly meet the new council. It will be good to get to know them and see how we’re all going to work together,” said Kulikowski. “I’m excited to speak with the Inuvialuit and the Gwich’in and see how we can support them, as well as all the other groups the town is involved with. I want to keep the communication lines that have already been established with open.”
Kulikowski said she hopes to continue the work the current administration and council have done to find a secure source of energy, and will also prioritize issues such as the economy and the cost of living.
Kulikowski said she is appreciative of everyone who voted and helped out with her campaign.
“I greatly appreciate everyone who got out and voted. I’ve had so much support this whole time from people who have offered to help with the campaign, who wore buttons and who put signs in their yards,” she said. “All the help that I’ve had to get me here has been excellent and I thank Inuvik for that.”