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Lessons in politics not lost on new federal Liberal Grit candidate
March 19, 2015
By Tim Kelly

What a difference 95 days makes.

That’s the amount of time former Vaughan regional councillor Deb Schulte officially spent out of “active” politics.

Now, she’s the official Liberal nominee for the new federal riding of King-Vaughan.

However, the big day for the 55-year-old Vaughan citizen came last Oct. 27 when that city’s voters sent her packing after just one term in office.

It was a rude awakening for the retired engineer, who spent more than 20 years working at Bombardier before taking the plunge into public service. After all, she had vowed to spend two terms on Vaughan council, eager to work hard as part of a new crew of councillors elected in 2010 with a reform-minded agenda.

But Schulte didn’t sit around and sulk. At least if she did, she didn’t do so for long. The energetic, detail-oriented public servant decided she had more work to do and, though late to the race, jumped into a crowded field of nomination hopefuls.

She was given the official green light in January by Liberal party bigwigs and beat four competitors for the Liberal nomination on March 7 in King City.

Schulte’s focus will now turn to putting together a campaign team, fundraising and preparing for a federal election that could happen any time this year from late spring to October.

What she learned in her municipal election loss stood her in good stead in her nomination win.

Schulte said she realized just how important the personal touch was in politics.

Where her reputation as a do-gooder, environmentalist and hard worker may have won her votes in the past, she came to understand the vital need to reach out one-on-one with potential voters.

“It’s really important,” she said after her win.

The other big lesson from her defeat that translated into victory just months later was the need to pull out the vote.

“You have to get busy on voting day and make calls, come get people, make it an experience. People may have good intentions about voting, but you have to make sure they do it,” she said.

Such lessons are sure to stand Schulte in good stead when the writ is dropped for the federal election.