Six questions with Brandon Tozzo, candidate for Kingscourt-Rideau District

Brandon Tozzo, candidate for the Kingscourt-Rideau District in the 2022 City of Kingston municipal election. Submitted photo.

Editorial note:

Across the province, Ontarians are getting ready to cast their ballots in every city, town, and county as the 2022 Municipal Election is fast approaching. With election day on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, Kingstonist has reached out to all candidates within the City of Kingston to create profiles allowing voters to find a brief overview of each candidate in one place. As response comes in, more and more candidate profiles will be added here, which you can access through our Municipal Election 2022 section (with the tab on the homepage), or through our ‘Candidate overview landing page.’

With 45 candidates in total for Kingston City Council alone – and with only one district acclaimed (Countryside District will once again be represented by Gary Oosterhof) and six districts without an incumbent – our goal is to provide as much information as possible leading up to the elections. Thus, we will endeavour to collect response from as many Kingston candidates as possible, with the hope of providing similar coverage for Loyalist Township, Frontenac County, and the Town of Greater Napanee moving forward. All relevant links will be available under the Municipal Election 2022 tab.

For more general information on election process in Kingston, including details on electing Board of Education Trustees, ensuring you are registered to vote, etc., visit the City of Kingston Municipal Elections webpage.

Candidate profiles are being published on our website in no particular order.

Brandon Tozzo moved to Kingston 15 years ago to do his PhD at Queen’s University, and now he hopes to be the “voice of change” on Kingston City Council.

Running in the Kingscourt-Rideau district, where he lives with his wife Jenna, Tozzo is a special needs advocate. “We have two children, a son Colson and a daughter Isla. Colson has cerebral palsy and it has been a motivator for me to advocate for adults and children with special needs.”

Since moving to the district, Tozzo has been involved in the Kingscourt Association and is also active in the labour movement. Aside from his work in the provincial government, he is union president and a part-time university professor. “I’ve been… working on OPSEU’s ‘We Own It Campaign’ and a variety of progressive political activism, as well,” he shared.

When asked for a ‘fun fact’ Tozzo said that he’s almost brushed shoulders with a musical icon: “I’m a big fan of the Beatles. I actually met Paul McCartney once in an elevator in Quebec City. It was only for about 30 seconds, but it was amazing.”

How would you describe your personal political ideology and/or affiliation?

I self-identify broadly as a progressive. I’ve been a supporter of the NDP for over 20 years and generally call myself a Jack Layton New Democrat.

What made you want to run in this municipal election?

First, I spent the pandemic defending workers as an OPSEU local president. I’ve been frustrated with governments on all levels not listening to people, especially in a time of crisis. I feel there’s a disconnect and that we can do better. I hope to be far more understanding of the needs of the community.

Second, I worked on a municipal post-pandemic rebuilding effort through the university with the city of Oshawa and I have a considerable amount of policy ideas that would work well for Kingston.

Third, I have a son with special needs and would like to see more progress at the city level on accessibility. I think it’s largely ignored.

What are the three most common issues voters are bringing up to you as you campaign?

Traffic, traffic and traffic. Have I mentioned traffic? It’s a huge issue in the district. I’m also hearing that parks and infrastructure are a major issue, as well as garbage.

What three issues are most pressing/important to address locally, in your opinion?

  1. I’d like to see more traffic calming measures throughout the district, especially around Kingston Secondary and Molly Brant [schools]. I feel it’s an accident waiting to happen.
  2. I’d also like to see some work done on the district’s parks. I’d like to add more greenery to the district and make it more family friendly.
  3. Finally, there’s a significant affordability crisis. I’d like to see more proactive measures with housing affordability.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

Traffic, yet again.

What do you feel sets you apart from other candidates?

My compassion and ability to listen. I’ve been knocking on doors for months and I take the time to listen to people. Sometimes it’s just for five minutes, other times, for much longer. I think residents haven’t been heard in government for a long time. I’m hoping to change that.

For more information on Brandon Tozzo, candidate for Kingscourt-Rideau District in the 2022 municipal election, visit his website or email him at [email protected]

With files from Cris Vilela.

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