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Local trustee to run for Ontario NDP

Elmira’s Karen Meissner announced her NDP candidacy Wednesday at Gibson Park, where she was joined by Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife. [Justine Fraser]

Currently the area’s school board trustee, Karen Meissner has her sights set on Queen’s Park, announcing this week she’ll run as the NDP candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga in the next provincial election.

She launched that bid at an event Wednesday morning at Gibson Park in Elmira, where she was joined by Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife. The park is home to Kate’s Place for Everyone, the accessible playground named for her niece.

“I am very honoured and excited to announce that I am running for the candidacy for NDP in Kitchener-Conestoga. I am a school board trustee, I have children, I’ve raised them in this community, and I see firsthand the cuts to education and the impact it’s had on families, on education workers and on children in our schools. I know we can do better. I’m here to do better,” said Meissner, who’s called Elmira home for the past 14 years.

“I think that the NDP team in Waterloo Region – Catherine Fife in Waterloo, Laura Mae Lindo in Kitchener Centre, Marjorie Knight from Cambridge – are a strong team of women, and I’m deeply honoured to stand amongst them, along with [party leader] Andrea Horwath. Provincially, we are making decisions that matter to families.”

Meissner has served as a Waterloo Region District School Board trustee since 2018. She is a former small business owner and professional photographer. Currently studying at Wilfrid Laurier University, she describes herself as an advocate for education.

“What I’ve seen as a trustee, and as a parent, cuts to education have been devastating and it’s been really hard on families. I’ve had a front-row seat to that, so that’s the number-one issue facing members of the community, along with affordable housing – it’s very difficult for families in the region, in Kitchener-Conestoga. Health care, we see how vital that has been throughout the pandemic and we continue to see cuts, so I’d like to make sure the people in this community are represented and I’m the person to do that,” said Meissner.

Meissner is an avid volunteer for Kate’s Kause, a charitable organization dedicated to Angelman Syndrome awareness and inclusive, accessible community projects. She also invests her time with the Business Education Partnership and the KW Multicultural Centre.

Fife welcomed her into the fold at Wednesday’s announcement.

“When you serve as a public trustee, you have a deep connection to community. Watching her performance over the last three and a half years, watching her fight for special education, for autism, for environmental programs, she’s exactly the kind of candidate we need to stand up to Doug Ford, who has turned into one of the biggest bullies in education that we’ve ever seen,” said Fife.

“We’re excited to have her as part of the Kitchener-Waterloo NDP team and we know she is dedicated to delivering results for the families of Kitchener-Conestoga.”

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