The Délı̨nę Got'ı̨nę Government has elected Danny Gaudet as their newest chief (ekw'ahtı̨dé).
Gaudet received 129 votes and incumbent candidate Leeroy Andre received 100 votes in the 2022 election. The results were announced Wednesday on Facebook Live.
"I'd like to thank everybody for all their support and my goal at the end of the day is to bring everybody together, get everyone owning this government because it is theirs," said soon-to-be-chief Gaudet. "I think there's huge opportunities and in order to be successful and get to where we should be, we need everybody participating."
Six councillors were also elected: returning councillors Leonard Kenny and Gina Dolphus; and newly elected Raymond Tutcho, Raymond Taneton, Christopher Yukon, and Jonas Modeste.
The newly elected council will take effect on Sept. 1 for a four-year term.
This is the government's second election since Délı̨nę became a self-governing community in 2016. Gaudet was chief negotiator during the 18 years the community worked with the federal and territorial governments to negotiate the self-government agreement.
Gaudet makes plans to 'strengthen the community'
Gaudet said he is a guy who doesn't typically like running for council or other elected positions, but decided to run because he cares about the Délı̨nę community and had something to contribute.
"I've invested most of my career in the community in terms of time and energy, and work. I'm at the point now where I'd kind of like to see it go to another level, see if we could try to strengthen the community," said Gaudet.
Gaudet said his three main focuses as chief will be housing, health care and education.
For housing, he'd like to help Délı̨nę residents work toward homeownership.
"Under the self-government agreement we've managed to take ownership of all the land," said Gaudet. "I'd like to sit down with our new council and the community and talk to them about how we can actually transfer ownership of the land so that they own it and have equity in their pocket."
Gaudet said he hopes this will make it easier for residents to secure mortgages. He'd also like to introduce mortgage subsidies for those in need.
In terms of education, Gaudet said he is concerned that students graduating from the local high school are having to take upgrading classes to qualify for post secondary education.
He'd like to start looking into ways to ensure students are receiving a proper education, he said.
"We need to keep students in school. We need to have various programs that make it exciting for them so that they actually want to be in schools … there's been big debates about whether we're meeting curriculum or whether we're [just] socially passing students," said Gaudet.
And as for health care, he'd like to redesign the system to help address nursing shortages and prevent recurring health problems in the community.
"The system almost seems to be designed just to react to issues. I think we need to design something that is more preventive," said Gaudet. "We have social issues. We're not bad but there's got to be communication between health and social services if you're going to work towards developing strong and healthy families."