The votes are in and certified, transforming the current male-dominant council into a female majority, a make-up seen only once before, according to Takoma Park officials.
“Local democracy in action, it’s just fabulous,” said Cindy Dyballa, Takoma Park Council member-elect for Ward 2.
“We still have a ways to go, but our council is looking much more like our city overall,” said Mayor of Takoma Park Kate Stewart.
Three new faces – Cindy Dyballa, Kacy Kostiuk and Talisha Searcy – will join Mayor Stewart and council members Peter Kovar, Terry Seamens and Jarrett Smith.
“I’m pumped! I’m excited!” said Dyballa.
Dyballa took the win in the most contested race, initially earning just below 50 percent of the vote, thus triggering instant runoff voting where ranking of candidates comes into play.
“So, instant runoff means you essentially vote twice at the same time,” Dyballa said.
The mayor said despite different faces, the same issues will be at the forefront of the council’s agenda.
“We may have different takes on some things, but the overall priorities of affordable housing, hiring a new police chief and economic development [are still there],” Stewart said.
“There’s only so far you can go on the environment and recreation committees with those issues, so it’s time for me to step up to council to accomplish those things,” Dyballa said.
Work will begin after an inauguration ceremony scheduled for next Wednesday.
Officials said this year’s election brought in the second highest turnout in Takoma Park’s history, but they’re still hoping to increase those numbers so this is the last off-year election for Takoma Park.
Starting in 2020, they will align with the state and federal level.
The council members and mayor serve three-year terms.