Merritt’s vacant council position will be filled by Yvette Baxter

Baxter wins city byelection

Yvette Baxter was elected to Merritt city council in a byelection held this past weekend, beating the second place finisher by more than 150 votes.

Four people stepped forward to replace a seat left vacant by Coun. Claire Newman, who died in a hit-and-run collision on Highway 16 near Valemount last summer.

Baxter won in a landslide victory, gaining 229 votes.

Runner up Peter Coghill received 75 votes, Norma Jean Littleton received 30 votes, and Michael “MJ” Phillips received 26 votes.

“I think people resonated with my family and community message,” said Baxter. “Hopefully going forward I can really work with the local Indigenous bands and local community and keep us being a prosperous [community], and have a great future.”

Baxter ran on a platform of working closer with the Indigenous bands in the Nicola Valley.

“Just talking to them and working together because we use the same resources and we all live in the same communities, and I think if we all work together, this community will grow and become a better and brighter place to live," she said.

Baxter’s job as city councillor does not officially begin until May 7. “On Tuesday, I’m just coming [to the city council meeting] as a person in the audience, I don’t get into my position until May 7,” said Baxter.

Baxter now faces the challenge of “learning the position and trying to figure out what things have already gone past and what things are still in the works to get past within the council, and working with the other council members and trying to move the city forward.”

To Merrittonians, Baxter said, “I am happy to be their voice and I am grateful to be living and working in this community.”

More Kamloops News