Bill Altenhof, a candidate in Tecumseh's Ward 2 by-election, takes questions from residents at a 'meet the candidates' event held at L'Essor Secondary School on October 3, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Tecumseh Elects New Ward 2 Councillor (VIDEO)

He was backed by the Rohrer family and now Bill Altenhof is set to take over the late Mike Rohrer’s seat on Tecumseh council.

Altenhof won Friday night’s Ward 2 by-election by capturing nearly 50% of the vote that saw 45% voter turnout.

The University of Windsor professor celebrated the victory at his home with friends and family — including the Rohrer’s.

“We’re very happy,” says Altenhof. “The Rohrer’s as well.”

Altenhof says it was important to him to have the family’s support.

“It’s interesting how a long time ago will kind of influence the future,” says Altenhof, remembering his time growing up with Mike. “It was incredible to work with Mike and the family and many residents to keep [St. Gregory Elementary] school open and now to have their support and encouragement for this — it was very important.”

Mike Rohrer’s sister — Jennifer — says it’s wonderful to see Altenhof voted in.

“This night is bittersweet for my family, but the ward has spoken a second time and once again they picked a winner and a great guy,” she says. “We wouldn’t have supported Bill as a family if we didn’t think he was the right choice.”

She wasn’t surprised by the strong margin of victory for Altenhof.

“I was sitting in my brother’s office chair and it came through and I yelled, ‘He blew them away,'” says Rohrer.

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara congratulated Altenhof on his election, adding the professor’s engineering background will likely be an asset as councillors look to review capital projects in the upcoming budget discussions.

Altenhof will only have a short time to get up to speed on the all of the files the town is working on before his first council meeting on October 25, but he doesn’t seem too stressed about the workload.

“It’s not anything new,” says Altenhof. “It’s the life of an engineer to be honest with you. You’re generally put into a problem where they wanted solutions sometime ago, so I’m ready for it and we’re certainly going to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”

Former St. Clair Beach councillor Scott Shields finished second in voting followed by Jeremy Soulliere, Marian Drouillard, Janet Harris and Chris Carpenter.

Altenhof is set to serve out the remainder of the council term ending in fall of 2018 after the sudden death of former councillor Mike Rohrer earlier this year.