Angela Kennedy rose above conflict-of-interest charges tonight to defeat all her opponents, including the archdiocese and teacher’s unions.
In the race for TCDSB Ward 11, Kennedy took 5,904 votes or 47 per cent of the total ballots. Her closest rival, Kevin Morrison, earned 33 per cent. At home with her family and supporters, Kennedy sounded jubilant after hearing the results.
“I feel very good,” she said. “This is my best election yet with my two formidable opponents, the archdiocese and the teacher’s unions and I triumphed.”
This past summer, a judge found Kennedy guilty of conflict of interest. The decision ordered Kennedy to vacate her position as trustee, but permitted her to run in this election.
Asked if the judge’s findings influenced her campaign, Kennedy responded by saying voters never brought up the issue. According to her, the biggest challenges came from pastors at Sunday mass urging parishioners not to vote for incumbents and the funding other candidates received from teacher’s unions.
“I always have to go full out because the unions always run a candidate against me and I don’t take funding from any union or anybody,” she said. “I have the archdiocese and the unions joining forces so that’s been the difference with this campaign.”
For long time supporter Romona Juan, the results speak loudly.
“I feel absolutely happy,” she said. “It’s just great for the school board and Angela and her constituents. The people have spoken with their votes.”
Berta Mascarenhas of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network believes voter apathy rather than Kennedy’s experience had more to do with her victory.
“Name recognition is what happened with a lot of people and I think we’re seeing that in this ward,” she said. “Even with all the publicity this year it seems people just recognized her name and didn’t know too much about the others.”
Kennedy’s victory disappointed Ward 11 resident Penny Boyce-Chester who believes she should have been prevented from running. In spite of the outcome, however, she remains hopeful about the board’s future.
“Angela Kennedy is going back to a different board and for that reason alone I hope she recognizes what she did wrong and that she behaves differently,” Boyce-Chester said. “Now she knows people are prepared to hold her accountable.”