Rawlson King wins Rideau-Rockcliffe byelection

Monday 15 April, 2019

King is first Black city councillor in Ottawa’s 150-year history

Rawlson King



Rawlson King has won the by-election in Rideau-Rockcliffe 

King received 1,529 votes, or 18.36 per cent of the vote, to win over second-place finisher Jamie Kwong, who had 1,406 votes. Altogether, 17 candidates vied for this position to replace  former councillor Tobi Nussbaum,  who had stepped down after the last election to take a post as Chief Executive Officer with the National Capital Commission.

He would be the first black city councillor in Ottawa’s history. As of 2016, black people — Ottawa’s largest visible minority group — made up six per cent of the city’s population.

Rawlson celebrated with volunteers and supporters at a pub on Montreal Road where he spoke about his victory.

“It’s amazing especially since it went from conception to reality so quickly, that’s what’s amazing about it. It was an idea that we had I guess late in the year when we heard Tobi Nussbaum was resigning.” Rawlson said. 

Campaign volunteer Rachel Décoste says the victory is a big step forward for Ottawa. “First black person to be elected in Ottawa whether it’s federal, municipal or provincial this the first time I think it’s a historical moment.” Décoste explained.

Mayor Jim Watson in a tweet congratulated King on his election.  “Congratulations @rawlsonking on your win! I look forward to working with you and to your contributions to Rideau-Rockcliffe and on City Council. I’d also like to thank all those who’ve put their name on the ballot in this by-election – our democracy is stronger because of you”.

King is a well known community leader who has lived in Rideau-Rockcliffe for 15 years and has been a very involved volunteer for about 10 years on a wide range of civic issues across the Ward. At the time of election, he was the President of the Overbrook Community Association, where over the last three years, he successfully advocated for a youth strategy for Ward 13; led the organization when it raised $42,000 to hold a highly-acclaimed musical; helped obtain heritage designation of a former neighbourhood public school; assisted in piloting a post-incident response plan to serious crime, now used City-wide. He also  supported the creation and opening of a new community park in the Ward and was a vocal leader in the fight to keep Rideau High School open.
He is also a Board member and Treasurer at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre, a $1.8 million facility that provides social services to Ward 13 residents, which has successfully advocated to establish a new community hub in the former Rideau High School.   He was also recently appointed Co-Chair of the new Ottawa Police Service Community Equity Council which helps build relationships with police, Indigenous, faith-based & racialized communities.
It is not clear whether King would retain these community-based positions, given the heavy work load that comes with being a city counsellor. But for now, he is relishing his history-making accomplishment as the city of Ottawa’s very first Black Councillor.
“Diversity of voices, diversity of experiences at city council will make sure that the decisions that get made are more representative for everybody in Ottawa. I think this is a positive addition to city council.”

King is the president of the Overbrook Community Association and a board member at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre. He is also the co-chair of the Ottawa Police Service Community Equity Council.

He has lived in Rideau-Rockcliffe for 15 years and graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s degree in communications.






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