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A bright spot in a crap campaign

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Every election, reporters meet one or two gem candidates who probably won't win, but totally should. I was overdue for such a moment, in a campaign dominated by Sam n' Judy sniping, endless nastiness in River Heights and inconsequential issues like concrete barriers. This campaign hasn't exactly filled one with faith in the virtues of civic engagement.

Thursday, I trundled out to St. James for an obligatory ward profile and met Deanne Crothers -- the left's semi-suicide candidate running against Coun. Scott Fielding.

Except she turned out not to be a suicide candidate at all. She's smart and candid and sparky and genuine, and she has a really great haircut. She's running a small campaign, but a real one, with a Portage Avenue office, two brochures and Winnipeg Labour Council President Larry Pelzer as her campaign manager.

Crothers is up against Coun. Scott Fielding, himself no slouch. He's also young, smart, hard-working and a real bright light on council. St. James has an embarrassment of riches.

Fielding has been working all out to get re-elected, and there's no sense he's vulnerable. If Premier Greg Selinger was smart, he'd be on the blower the day after the civic election, congratulating Crothers on a well-fought race and inquiring about her future political plans.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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