Midtowner makes bid for mayor’s office
Sarah Climenhaga, a resident from the St. Clair West area, has been advocating for safer streets across the GTA for the last 20 years. These days, she has set her sights on the mayor’s office.
When people introduce her as a mom of three making her first foray into politics by trying to sideline John Tory’s re-election plans, they’re not wrong. But it discounts a lot of years of rallying for the issues the lifelong Torontonian believes could improve people’s lives. In the past, Climenhaga has worked at various non-profits, including World Wildlife Fund, Smart Commute and Moving the Economy.
“A traditional path in politics is school trustee, councillor, maybe MPP, then maybe, eventually, mayor,” said Climenhaga. “That’s the path for a career in politics. I’m most interested in the most direct path to change.” She said she was tired of seeing city-level solutions to key issues, such as homelessness and vehicle fatalities, stopped at Toronto City Council. She kept track of voting records and was often disappointed at how many ambitious strategies were voted down.
“I don’t see a connection between what we say and what we actually do,” she said.
One key issue close to her heart is the idea of safe streets. Creating vibrant streets shouldn’t involve pitting drivers against cyclists or pedestrians or transit users, she said.
“It’s really not about dividing people. I want to be able to choose what mode of transportation to use, and right now, that choice is not available to many people.”
Climenhaga joins eight other candidates, including Mayor John Tory, who have announced their bid for the municipal election in October.