Former Brandonite elected Calgary's first woman mayor

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By Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A former Brandonite has been elected the first woman mayor of Calgary
Jyoti Gondek was named mayor of Calgary Monday defeating 26 challengers for the role with 174,649 votes, accounting for 45 per cent of all ballots cast.
Gondek originally hails from London, England but has close ties to Manitoba.
Her family moved to Winnipeg in 1973, relocated to Neepawa in 1977 and later they settled in Brandon in 1981.
“I was just really excited by the amount of support that was shown to me from my friends who still live in Brandon or the ones that relocated here," Gondek said.
Gondek attended Vincent Massey for her junior high and high school years.
“It was pretty good. My friends lived close by and we could walk to everything or ride your bike,” she said.
She went on to attend the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba.
Gondek was living in Winnipeg in 1996 when she married her husband Todd. They soon moved to Wainwright, Alta. and later Calgary a year later.
“It’s been interesting to live in and visit different cities and really understand which ones got city building right and which ones were really struggling with it,” Gondek said. “It’s an interesting contrast between places like Winnipeg and Calgary, where one has a very healthy art scene and maybe more of a depressed economy, whereas Calgary was booming but it just didn’t have that art and creative sector that Winnipeg did.”
Gondek first debated entering the political sphere in 2007, but shied away from the role because it did not feel like the right fit at the time.
She went on to volunteer on a municipal campaign and the experience helped her embrace the idea of city-building and the role she could play in helping shape Calgary's future.
Gondek went back to school earning a degree in Urban Sociology and was a consultant in the field for many years—her work inspired her to enter the political field.
“It just dawned on me that I’ve been trying to influence change from the outside, and maybe it was time to get a seat at the table instead,” Gondek said.
She was elected City of Calgary Ward 3 Councillor in 2017.
It has been an exciting experience coming from Manitoba, because she appreciates the role strong local connections play in the process of city-building.
It gives her a unique perspective in Calgary because she can appreciate the connections people have fostered in their own neighbours.
“Most people don’t say they’re from Calgary, they’ll tell you which neighbourhood or which community in Calgary they’re from. I found that to be very much like growing up in the small towns that I had been in,” Gondek said. “There’s a very strong co-op network here as well. It just feels like a series of connected communities.”
She was compelled to run for the office of the mayor in the 2021 municipal election because she felt...continued

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