Karin Terziano is settling into her new role as mayor after making history as the first woman appointed to the office for the Town of Huntsville.
Terziano first assumed the roles and responsibilities of mayor when former Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison took a leave of absence to pursue a seat as a member of parliament in the federal election last fall. Following Aitchison’s victory, council declared the office of the mayor’s seat vacant and appointed Terziano as acting mayor on Nov. 12. She then put her name forward to fill the vacancy and was sworn in as mayor for the remainder of the 2018 to 2022 term of office on Dec.17 following an uncontested bid for the role. Terziano said her first few months as mayor have been challenging but rewarding.
“We were in limbo the whole time that Scott was running because we didn’t know whether he’d be successful and then we, of course, had my empty seat for a while too,” Terziano said. “Now to have a full council back at the table, we feel like we’re back in the driver’s seat and can get going on some things.”
Terziano said it was scary at first to take on the responsibilities of being mayor, especially because the role is vastly different than being a councillor, but she’s getting more and more comfortable as time goes by. Her time as acting mayor gave her a good sense of what it would be like to fill the role permanently, she said.
Before becoming mayor, Terziano served as a councillor for nine years as well as deputy mayor since 2014. She decided to run for council in 2010 after a 24-year career working for the town in roles like theatre manager and strategic planning coordinator.
“While I worked for the town, there were a number of different women on council, so I was able to see that there was no real difference between a man or a woman at the council table,” she said. “By the time I got to the point of thinking about doing politics, I never thought about, ‘Oh can a woman do it?’”
At that point, Terziano felt it was standard for women to be in politics because it had already been a career held by women for a long time, she said, though men still outnumbered women. While she never thought about her appointment to mayor as making history, she said it’s neat to be the first of something and she’s glad to see the trend of more women entering politics.
“I know that there are far fewer women in politics than men, but as one of my favourite artists said, ‘The times they are a-changin,’ and I think they truly are,” Terziano said. “We’re seeing more and more women enter into politics every day, and I think it’s great.”