PHOTO: Karen Cliffe, Nancy Kokinasidis steal two seats for the ladies on an all male Kirkland council after 30 plus years
While four women ran in the recent municipal elections in the town of Kirkland, only two won seats. Karen Cliffe, Nancy Kokinasidis, Jessica Houde-Woytiuk and Andrea Katz took on the notorious all-male council.
Cliffe and Kokinasidis will sit on Kirkland’s city council, the first women on council since 1983. Grace Shantz completed two terms alongside Mayor Sam Elkas. Before this election, Kirkland was the only city without female representation on the Island of Montreal.
Long-standing community activist, founder of the Kirkland Voice Facebook page and leader of Salting for Seniors, Karen Cliffe won the District 8 seat. Her dedication to her city and her district was rewarded by voters who gave Cliffe their support on November 7, 2021.
Cliffe’s long-standing contention with sitting Mayor, Michel Gibson, came to a head just before the 2021 elections when Gibson resorted to name-calling and insults during the public council meeting in September. The actions resulted in Gibson writing a formal letter of apology that he read before residents at the last public meeting of the mandate.
Kokinasidis and Cliffe both ran and lost in elections past. Kokinasidis entered the race with five years of experience on the Urban Planning Committee of the town. The trilingual businesswoman promised residents that she would not just be visiting them during election season but also make herself available to them on her Kirkland Vibes page on Facebook. The news councillor has lived in Kirkland for 20 years. Having lived in both the north and south sectors of the city, she felt she could bring a unique perspective.