Where are all the Women 2?
My last post highlighted six women running in the municipal election that are worth your consideration but there are more running than just those six. Let's look at some women who are running tough races against an incumbent.
Jennifer Robitaille is running in Ward 1 Orléans against incumbent Bob Monette. Robitaille ran in 2010 placing third with just over 14% of the vote. She has both a military and small business background and wants to apply her skills to public office as a "get things done" candidate. Her GET BOLD slogan highlights her drive to differentiate herself from the incumbent given their objectives are very similar. This was on display when she opted to go the loud route at the Cardinal Creek Community Association (CCCA) Cardinal Creek Community Park Grand Opening and BBQ in September to promote her campaign. Clearly, she is not afraid to shake things up a bit.
Lilly Obina is another repeat candidate running against incumbent Diane Deans in Ward 10 Gloucester-Southgate. A media darling and well spoken candidate, Obina is a Dalhousie MBA graduate who wants to focus on business and jobs for her community. Smartly realizing the airport and surrounding areas as an untapped resource, she puts forward plans to build on this. Obina came in second last time with a smaller field of candidates. With seven people running this time around, will the vote split help her or hurt her chances this time.
Catherine Fortin LeFaivre is running against incumbent Mathieu Fleury in Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier. A communications specialist, Fortin LaFaivre has worked in both Ottawa and Washington DC and has lots of political interaction experience. Her priorities include focus on development and planning. This would include transportation as well as new construction. She also would like to see campaign rules changed to "level playing field" for candidates running against incumbents. I would like to see this too.
Sheila Perry and Penny Thompson are running against each other and incumbent Peter D. Clark in Ward 13 Rideau-Rockcliffe. Both these strong women present great credentials for councillor. They are both past presidents of their respective community associations and both use the word SMART to highlight their approach to city priorities. This is Perry's second run in this ward and ran a strong campaign in 2010. Either would be a better choice for Rideau-Rockcliffe than the current councillor but will draw votes away from each other. This is where Ranked Choice Voting would help bring change to council.
All these women have a lot to offer as city councillors but face a tough haul running against established incumbents. Like Ms. Fortin LaFaivre eludes to in her campaign website, incumbents have built in advantages that give them higher name recognition and media play. And with the exception of Ms. Robitaille in Ward 1, all the wards have large slates running which means that votes will be split amongst the non-incumbents and give an advantage to the current councillors. The only advice I can offer is the focus of their campaigns have to be on identifying their votes and getting them out to the polls on voting days.
In a year when the need for strong women candidates is imperative to fill the holes of retiring female councillors at City Hall, these candidates are worthwhile options for voters in their wards to consider.
Ottawa needs more women on council, women who have the capability of making Ottawa a better city. These ladies pass that test.