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King-Vaughan picks PC candidate Stephen Lecce

June 7, 2018
Francine Kopun

In King-Vaughan, PC Party candidate Stephen Lecce took a strong early lead, and never looked back, with victory predicted within minutes of polls closing.

“I am absolutely humbled,” said Lecce, 31, declaring victory just before 9:30 p.m.

“I really feel motivated to serve. I am ready to work for this community and I want the people of this community to know that I am going to work every single day, relentlessly, to improve peoples’ quality of life to deliver on our commitment and put money back in their pockets.

“I will work hard to earn the support of those who gave me their vote and those that did not.”

Lecce received 29,136 votes, more than double that of Liberal candidate Marilyn Iafrate, his closest rival, who had 12,012.

Lecce is a small business owner and longtime conservative insider. He owns a public relations consultancy and has long been active in politics — as a teenager he worked on former PC MLA Al Palladini’s successful re-election campaign in 1999.

He campaigned on the party promise to reduce hydro rates and taxes while investing in health care.

“The people of King-Vaughan and across the province were looking for change,” said Lecce.

Iafrate, is Ward 1 Councillor for the north area of Vaughan. It was her first run at a provincial seat.

She said hospital crowding, congestion and gridlock emerged as issues for voters in the riding during the campaign.

“King and Vaughan are experiencing tremendous, unbridled growth,” said Iafrate.

Iafrate was part of the team that brought change to the development review process that residents hope will set a higher bar for developers — in April, the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal replaced the Ontario Municipal Board, which was viewed as too deferential to builders.

Iafrate said residents were also pleased with the new Mackenzie Vaughan hospital in Vaughan, and are also generally supportive of a new GO station in Kirby, which they believe will reduce vehicular traffic in their communities.

“That is the positive that they associate with the party,” said Iafrate, who is in her eighth year on Vaughan council.

Andrea Beal, a retired school teacher and guidance counsellor, represented the NDP in the riding.

King-Vaughan is a new riding, created in 2015 from the ridings of Vaughan and Oak Ridges-Markham.