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Once student and teacher, new Ward 3 councillors look forward to working together

Because both of its sitting councillors ran for the mayor's chair, Ward 3 was the only one in the city sure to have fresh faces after Monday's municipal election
Recently retired educator and Ward 3 candidate Ron Zagordo (left) shares his ideas with a resident following the formal portion of a candidate meet and greet held last month. As a result of Monday's municipal election, Zagordo will join Angela Caputo to be a new councillor in that ward.

With both its councillors running for mayor, Ward 3 was the only one sure to have all new faces around the horseshoe at city hall.

After a tight race, its newly-elected councillors say they are looking forward to getting down to work.

Angela Caputo led the voting at 29.45 per cent, but only 102 votes separated the second place finisher Ron Zagordo from the third place finisher.

Caputo, owner of The Breakfast Pig, and retired educator Zagordo have known each other for quite some time.

“He was my teacher in high school. He taught me Grade 10 or 11 biology,” said Caputo of Zagordo in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Zagordo recalls teaching Caputo at the former St. Basil Secondary School. He also rubbed shoulders with the newly-elected head of council while he was a high school student.

“I was in education for thirty-plus years. I taught Angela and our new mayor Matthew Shoemaker was at our school visiting once in a while, so I ran into him as a student. Small world,” said Zagordo. “Now I am working with them.”

Caputo said she is preparing for a new challenge after more than a decade of supporting the community through a number of initiatives, including the Feed the Kids program.

The Breakfast Pig owner and Ward 3 candidate Angela Caputo meets with a voter at the North Branch Library. Alex Flood/SooToday file photo

”We started a program through COVID where I was bringing lunches to children in geared-to-income housing and seeing the families in there and the children in the geared-to-income complexes and realizing just how many families need help in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Caputo. “There is a ton of really great families that can just use a hand up and it really changed my perspective on things and made me want to work and be a voice for the people and that’s what really pushed me into the race.”

Newly reelected Ward 2 councillors Luke Dufour and Lisa Vezeau-Allen have already reached out to offer support to her, said Caputo.

“I am excited to be able to lean on the experienced councillors for some guidance. It’s a whole new game for me, so I am going to be looking to them for some help,” she said. “I am also looking forward to working with the new faces. I think there are going to be a lot of bright new ideas brought forward and I really want to be a councillor for advocacy and progress.’

Zagordo is also looking forward to the challenge of working with a new mayor and council.

“I introduced myself in one form or another to most of the people that were elected. I have known some prior to the election, so I feel very comfortable stepping in and being a part of the team and working together with everybody to do the best that I can for the city,” he said.

Knocking on the doors, Zagordo said he heard a lot of expected concerns, as well as some that he did not expect.

“I opened myself up to whatever concerns that people have to feel free to contact me if it’s a neighbourhood thing or a ward thing or something that involves all of Sault Ste. Marie. I am trying to open myself up and say there are many ways you can communicate with me and we can try and solve those problems,” he said.

Caputo said she may continue to knock on the doors of her constituents, even between elections.

”I still want to knock on peoples’ doors when something important is happening in our neighbourhood, I want their say,” she said. 

Caputo also promised to hold a series of town halls to get further feedback from the people living in her ward.

Luis Moreno finished third in the ward, with 23.7 per cent of the vote, while Kurtis McDermid brought in 21.85 per cent in Monday’s contest.

Currently 29 years old, Moreno told SooToday on Tuesday he is still looking to the possibility of running again in the future and plans to continue volunteering in the community.

“1,880 people voted for me and voted for my vision and my plan. It was certainly a close one. I believe I am still young, I believe I still have that passion," he said. “Unfortunately, the results didn’t swing in my favour, but I believe we ran a very strong campaign and I am very proud of my team members."

Moreno said he was disappointed by the low voter turnout for Monday's municipal election.

"Only 34 percent of the people voted in this election, lower than in 2018. That says something," said Moreno. “We have to give them a reason to vote and I think we all failed a little bit in that and over the next four years we should all be working to increase the vote share so that everyone has a say in our city."

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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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