From now until Dec. 31, CTV Kitchener is counting down the top 10 local stories of 2012. Catch the countdown every night on CTV News at Six.

Progressive Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer announced her resignation in April 2012, saying she had accepted a position as the head of the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

“I’m going to miss working with those people who entrusted me to serve them at Queen’s Park,” she said.

Witmer represented the Kitchener-Waterloo riding for more than 22 years, making her the longest-serving female MPP in Ontario.

Some critics accused Premier Dalton McGuinty of “engineering” the byelection by appointing Witmer to the WSIB.

“My motives are always pure,” he joked.

Witmer’s resignation opened the door for a highly anticipated byelection race.

Party leaders, including the Premier, made campaign stops in Kitchener-Waterloo even before the writ was dropped on August 8th.

Voters headed to the polls on September 6th.

School board trustee and NDP candidate Catherine Fife won with 40% of the vote.

“Tonight the voters of Kitchener-Waterloo have entrusted me with a serious responsibility,” she said to CTV.

It was a big win for the NDP, but a disappointing outcome for the Conservatives. Witmer had held the Kitchener-Waterloo riding for more than two decades.

It was also a near miss for the Liberals. Wins in both the Vaughn and Kitchener-Waterloo ridings would have guaranteed them a majority government. In the end, the Liberals won in Vaughn but missed out on a majority by just one seat.