by Carleigh O’Connell, Centennial Journalism
It was a very exciting Thursday night for newly elected Liberal MPP Tracy MacCharles in the Pickering-Scarborough East riding.
MacCharles held her campaign headquarters party at the Lone Star Texas Grill in Pickering. She arrived at 10:30 p.m. where a crowd chanting, “Tracy! Tracy!” greeted her. The room was electric with the excitement of her friends, family, and supporters and filled with the smells of hot fajitas, Lone Star’s specialty.
Her main opponent, PC candidate Kevin Gaudet was on hand to graciously introduce MacCharles as “Your new MPP.”
The Liberal candidate took an early lead in the poll. Just 45 minutes after the polls closed, MacCharles was elected by nearly 47 per cent of the votes. Gaudet won 33.6 per cent of the votes, and NDP candidate Nerissa Carino won 16.7 per cent.
“It feels fantastic, it’s just a great victory for all of us tonight,” MacCharles said to reporters about her success.
“The residents, the volunteers, and my family – we’re just thrilled.”
MacCharles, 48, was born and raised in Scarborough and now lives in Pickering with her husband Stephen Little, and twin children Genevieve and Travis.
This was MacCharles’ first run in a political campaign. Although some may consider her to be a rookie, her roots in her own riding and passions for Liberal ideals may have helped her gain the headway she needed to finish strong in the elections. Listen to Carleigh O’Connell’s interview with the candidate here.
“We [Liberals] believe in hard work, the value of a good education and the importance of having high quality health care services,” MacCharles said in a previous interview. “We have replaced so many jobs that were lost during the recession and more jobs were created in Ontario than the rest of Canada – something we can be proud of.”
A couple of the issues MacCharles plans to tackles while she moves into her role of MPP include addressing the constant gridlock of the Highway 401 corridor in Pickering and looking at the high level of unemployment in the city.
“Going forward it will just be what I always do: engage the community, listen to what the issues and opportunities are, talk to experts, and work my hardest to represent Pickering-Scarborough East.”
McCharles’ friends and family offered her great support throughout the campaign process, and throughout her recent two-time battled with breast cancer. When asked about her immediate plans, MacCharles said she would reconnect with her family.
“The first thing I’ve been telling everyone is that I’m going to have dinner at my dining room table,” she said. “The table has been like an office and my schedule has been very irregular, as you can imagine.”