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Advocate for active transit to pursue council seat

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Active-transportation activist Janice Lukes plans to run for city council in the soon-to-be-vacant St. Norbert ward.

Lukes, the former director of the Winnipeg Trails Association and a part-time executive assistant to outgoing Coun. Justin Swandel, said she will mount a campaign to succeed her employer in July, when candidates for council seats are permitted to register their campaigns.

Lukes is a well-known figure at city hall, due to years of lobbying in favour of funding to expand the city’s network of bike-and-pedestrian trails. The late Charleswood-Tuxedo councillor Bill Clement once dubbed her "Queen of the Trails" during a committee-meeting fight. She said she went to work for Swandel after years of badgering him about projects in St. Norbert.

Lukes said she has never been a member of a Manitoba political party, but was approached by three to run in the most recent provincial election.

Restaurateur Sachit Mehra has also declared his intention to run in St. Norbert.

Swandel has served St. Norbert since 2005, when he won a byelection to replace his former boss, John Angus. Swandel announced last month he would not run again.

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The Winnipeg Labour Council has endorsed 11 candidates who plan to run for city council this fall.

The council announced Thursday it has endorsed mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis and incumbent Couns. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry).

In three wide-open council races, the council endorsed former Dan Vandal assistant Matt Allard as a candidate in St. Boniface, restaurateur Sachit Mehra to run for the vacancy in St. Norbert and Stefan Jonasson in St. James-Brooklands. Incumbents Vandal, Justin Swandel and Scott Fielding are not running again in their respective wards.

The council also endorsed school board chairwoman Suzanne Hrynyk in an expected Old Kildonan race against Coun. Devi Sharma, Evan Comstock in an attempt to unseat Coun. Jeff Browaty in North Kildonan, Jason Schreyer in an Elmwood-East Kildonan contest against Coun. Thomas Steen and Ray Ulasy in an expected Transcona race against Coun. Russ Wyatt.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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