No sooner had city council approved a by-election on Oct. 5 for Cumberland ward than the race’s first candidate came forward.
Contacted by On the City, From the Burbs, longtime journalist and former political staffer Patrick Uguccioni confirmed he’s ready to enter the political fray.
A by-election was made necessary by the exit of Stephen Blais to the Ontario legislature.
“This is a natural progression for me,” Uguccioni, 55, said.
He said his desire to run was solidified following the death of a teenage boy cycling on Jeanne D’Arc Blvd. last summer.
“I became convinced a year ago when a young boy was hit on his bicycle. Somebody put up a ghost bike, and the death got all of this attention, but then it all died down. The young boy was on his way back home. I sort of grew up in this area, At the time, there was a flurry of concern and then it goes away. This needs to be corrected. This boy was about the same age as my son. We need to concentrate on local community issues,” the father of two said.
At the time, a board member for the cyclist advocacy group Bike Ottawa said the crashes was “a worrisome trend” for the city’s bicycle commuters. “It seems recently we’ve had a lot of days where at least one or two cyclists are getting hit, and I think it points to the facts that we need to start making stronger efforts to have safer streets in Ottawa,” Érinn Cunningham was quoted as saying.
Now the managing editor of Ottawa Community News, Uguccioni is a familiar face around Ottawa City Hall (in pre-COVID days!). He knows his way around an agenda, understands the issues and of course knows all on city council.
“I can hit the ground running. I grew up in Carlsbad Springs. “[As a community] we gravitated more east than south,” he said.
While acknowledging his French isn’t perfect, he says he believes it’s good enough that he’ll be able to communicate with francophone residents.
He presently lives in Orleans.
“I’ve got (supporters) from every political spectrum. This isn’t a Tory or Liberal campaign. I’ve got support from the entire political spectrum,” he said, adding former mayors Larry O’Brien and Bob Chiarelli have both offered their support.
“I learned from everyone. I’ve learned from a lot of people. You’re not a reporter if you’ve made your mind up, you see the discussion,” he said.
The last day to file is Aug. 21 by 2 p.m.