It was great to join over 100 Liberals on Thursday evening as my friend Danielle Takacs was nominated as the Liberal Party of Canada candidate in her hometown of Brantford. There was a palpable energy in the room, and a sense that with hope and hard work anything is possible in 2015.
The number of friends and dignitaries on hand was a testament of the commitment and hard work that Danielle has put in with the Liberal Party and in her community over the years. A number of nominated candidates and nomination contestants were on hand, such as Anne Tennier and George Takach. Provincial minister Ted McMeekin spoke on her behalf, as did Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry.
McGarry shared an anecdote that really encapsulates Danielle. They were both at a Liberal convention some years back, and McGarry brought along her 14 year old son, a new Liberal at his first event. He was understandably nervous but Danielle immediately took him under his wing. McGarry didn’t see him again until the end of the weekend, in the cheering section with a rambunctious group of Young Liberals. Danielle had introduced him to everyone and made him feel part of the group, and he ended up making life-long friends.
That’s the kind of person Danielle is. Too often we forget how intimidating this all can be for newcomers; how it can seem daunting to get involved. Danielle makes sure no one is excluded; that everyone is welcome. I think that speaks volumes to the kind of representative Danielle will be – she brings people together.
I’ve known Danielle for years but, as I listened to her speech and read her materials, I realized I had no idea just how much she has accomplished already in her life.
One item that immediately jumped out with me was that she graduated from the Brantford Citizen Police Academy – I always knew though she was not to be messed with.
She’s involved in so many groups in Brantford, from the Downtown Brantford Business Performance Grant Committee and the Board of the Sanderson Centre to the Paris-Brant Kiwanis and other charitable groups. She also volunteered with the Brantford International Villages and Cultural Festival and the Brantford Symphony Orchestra.
She has been a journalist and pundit on television and in print, and worked on Parliament Hill for former local Liberal MP Lloyd St. Amand. She’s been a consultant, and currently helps the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association shape its legislative course.
A Liberal in Brant for 17 years, she’s been a volunteer on countless campaigns, helped establish many Liberal youth and women’s clubs, and is currently vice-president federal for the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission.
And she’s committed. In the dead of winter, in the blowing snow, she canvassed with Nancy Leblanc in Parkdale-High Park to help her sign up Liberal members. That’s the dedication Danielle has for her friends and the Liberal cause, and that’s the dedication Danielle will bring to serving the people of Brantford-Brant.