Two new candidates are running in St. Laurent with Mayor Alan DeSousa and under the Ensemble Montréal banner for the municipal election in November, in place of councillors Michèle Biron and Francesco Miele, who are not running for re-election.
Biron was first elected in 1982, and Miele has served since 2010. Incumbents DeSousa, and councillors Aref Salem and Jacques Cohen, are running for re-election for Ensemble Montréal.
In a message to the community on Facebook Sept. 3, Miele wrote that he wants, at 40, to start a new chapter in his life, and that he will be campaigning for Ensemble Montréal during the election period.
“I wish to thank Francesco and Michèle for their many years of loyal and continuous service to St. Laurent residents," DeSousa said. "Both are extraordinary people and I enjoyed working closely with them over the years. We did great things for the community together. My friendship with both will endure beyond the political realm."
The new candidates are Vana Nazarian for city councillor in the Côte de Liesse district, Miele's seat; and Annie Gagnier for borough councillor in the Norman-McLaren district, Biron's seat.
“I welcome Vana and Annie on board," the St. Laurent Mayor added. "They are both wonderful women – dynamic, full of energy and ideas, keen to serve our community. With young families and solid qualifications and experience, they will strengthen our council in St. Laurent and help us make the right decisions in the years to come.”
Nazarian, according to her party biography, has "nearly 10 years of experience working in political cabinets, both in the Montreal administration and at the provincial level. Proficient in several languages, she holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in art history and has been pursuing an MBA in recent years. Her community involvement, just like her professional background, make her a woman who values work done on the ground with a pragmatic approach and always in solution mode, ready to serve and defend the interests of Montrealers."
Nazarian stated that she is "very excited to be able to help shape the future of our community in St. Laurent, in particular by expressing the interests of young families and the issues they face. I firmly believe in the vision of the DeSousa administration, which continues to prioritize sustainable development and innovation.
Gagnier's party bio says her "background in urban planning, architecture and marketing communication positions her well to make a positive contribution to St. Laurent council. With over 20 years of experience in her fields of expertise, Annie will add value to city decision making in St. Laurent. As president of the board for Au Coeur de l’enfance, she was an active player in the construction of the Maison de l’enfance de Saint-Laurent, as well as in development and fundraising activities for the Centre de pédiatrie sociale de Saint-Laurent. Still a proud ambassador of these community resources, she is happy to contribute to the well-being of St. Laurent’s youth and families."
Gagnier has also "sat on the board of directors of the Caisse-Populaire de Bois-Franc-Bordeaux- Cartierville for seven years, as well as being a volunteer with numerous other community organizations.
“Every day that I go door-to-door in my district, I am welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm by the people I meet," she stated. "I am working very hard to deserve their trust, listening to what they find important and aspire to as a community. I would be thrilled to represent them on council and I hope to bring my skills and leadership to what is already a dynamic administration.”