Still months away from the Oct. 24 municipal election, mayoral candidate Miranda Rocca-Circelli said she’s in the midst of the “fact-finding phase” of her campaign.
This applies to sharing opinions on such matters as the Kingsway Entertainment District, a proposed municipal arena/events centre she is currently researching and seeking to better understand where various stakeholders are coming from in their opinions.
This, she said, is in keeping with her leadership style, which doesn’t doesn’t lend itself to shooting from the hip.
“For me, it’s about being consistent,” she told Sudbury.com this week. “It’s always important to do my due diligence and my due process.”
As mayor, she said that she would meet with all of her colleagues on city council to build connections and make sure everyone has a voice around council chambers.
Not everyone feels “seen and heard” right now, she said, adding that this appears to have affected decorum in council chambers and how some people have chosen to interact on social media, where the city has recently opted to close off comments.
“It’s unfortunate it’s come to this.”
Rocca-Circelli has spent her entire life in Greater Sudbury and is currently raising three children aged nine to 14 with her husband.
“I think this is just a beautiful place, and we’ve got so much opportunity to explore,” she said.
She studied science at Laurentian University and earned a master’s degree in Online Education with a focus on distance education from Athabasca University before branching out into the local business community.
She is the owner and publisher of local real estate publications, the CEO and owner of Creative eLearning Design, which specializes in workplace training, and is the founder and executive director of the Greater Sudbury Basketball Association.
In 2017, Northern Ontario Business named her one of the 40 Under 40, which recognizes outstanding young entrepreneurs, executives and professionals.
This isn’t Rocca-Circelli’s first stab at politics, as she managed Jeff Huska’s mayoral campaign in 2014. From this experience, she said she learned the importance of connecting with the community at a grassroots level, which she intends to do during the months leading up to the Oct. 24 election date.
The idea of seeking public office has been floating around her brain for several years, she said, with everything happening to work out this time around.
“This time, with the support of my family and friends everything aligned in a way that I felt that the time was right to take the position and put my name in officially and start the whole journey.”
Although sparse on details at this point in her campaign, Rocca-Circelli has released a four-point platform, which includes:
- Economic vitality
- Environmental sustainability
- Social engagement
- Mental health and wellbeing
“It’s identifying our community needs,” she said. “These are areas where there are opportunities and there are challenges.”
The one campaign announcement she has made thus far includes a proposal to acquire Laurentian University greenspace and to investigate taking over the institution’s multi-use athletics centre.
Rocca-Circelli’s connection to the Freedom Convoy of truckers and others opposed to COVID-related health mandates has drawn some attention on social media. Ontario Party candidate for Sudbury in the June 2 provincial election Jason LaFace, who organized the Ontario leg of the convoy, has endorsed her, and her Facebook page includes messages of support for the convoy.
This support, she said, relates to her belief in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which she said is “the most important piece to preserve.”
It also calls to mind the city’s vaccination policy, which requires that all city staff members and city councillors be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I support people’s autonomy in terms of having privacy when it comes to their health matters, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t see this as a viable position for me,” Rocca-Circelli said.
The opioid epidemic that accompanied the pandemic deserves the focus, she added.
“These are people’s children, these are people’s parents, friends, and to me that’s one of the major priorities in our city right now.”
Both Mayor Brian Bigger and former Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre have also announced their intentions to seek the mayor’s seat, and said they plan on registering before the nominations period ends on Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.
A full breakdown of the timeline for this year’s municipal and school boards election and the latest list of registered candidates can be found online by clicking here.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.