Councillor Tom Jackson and Mayor Fred Eisenberger are the only members of Hamilton City Council to have served with former Controller, Acting Mayor and Ward Two Councillor Vince Agro who died last week. Councillor Jackson, himself of Armenian extraction, paid tribute to Vince Agro, stating that ethnicity played a role in Agro’s unsuccessful run for mayor in 1976. His statement follows:
Alderman Agro was a stellar and proud member and leader of both our City and his Italo-Canadian Community. In light of today’s needed debates over equality and marginalized communities, it may be easy to forget that when acting Mayor Agro in 1975 took over as Head of Council due to the unfortunate stroke that saddled then Mayor Victor Copps mid-Council term, the word on the street amongst a large segment of the citizenry (even which I detected whilst beginning University studies myself and not yet being involved in Municipal politics ) was that Hamilton was not ready for an Ethno-Cultural Mayor on a permanent, elected basis!! It may not have been the only issue which allowed Controller Jack MacDonald to beat Acting Mayor Agro in the 1976 General Civic Election but in my humble opinion…it was an issue!! Regardless, and true to his determined spirit, Vince came back as Ward 2 Councillor shortly thereafter and served the Downtown Ward again with fervour and passion and dedication until 1997. It was my tremendous fortune and honour that I was able to serve alongside Vince on City and Regional Governments together for approximately 9 years. His love of family, community, politics, arts, music, Italian Heritage, amidst other interests, will be his hallmark for years to come. God rest His Soul. I will personally and politically miss him.