May 6, 2014 6:19 pm

Meet the candidates: NDP leader Andrea Horwath

Ont. NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks with a convenience store owner in Toronto on Monday May 5, 2014.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Who: Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario

Riding: Hamilton Centre

Leader since: March 2009

Age: 51 (October 24, 1962)

Zodiac sign: Scorpio, Tiger

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Bio: Born in Hamilton Ont., Horwath holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Labour Studies from McMaster University. Cites her dad, a Slovak immigrant who worked at Ford Motor Co.’s assembly line in Oakville, Ont., as an early influence. Horwath worked part-time as a server to pay for her education.

Horwath currently lives in Hamilton with her son Julian Leonetti.

Politics: Elected to Hamilton City council’s for Ward Two in 1997.  Entered Ontario legislature winning a 2004 byelection in Hamilton East, won 2007 provincial election in new riding of Hamilton Centre . Became the NDP’s first female leader in 2009.

Riding a populist wave and NDP support refracted from the federal election earlier that year, led her party to a 17-seat gain in the 2011 election, winning more than 20 per cent of the popular vote for the first time since 1995.

Promises:  Minimum wage hike; transit cost freeze; small business tax cut; taking the HST off electricity, home heating, gasoline.

Asset: Ability to connect.

Liability: Substance. Her focus on populism – and her opposition to progressive Liberal policies – have some wondering whether there’s anything solid to her policies.

On the line: Cred: This election’s Horwath’s doing – can she capitalize on it?

Duly quoted: “What this is about is listening to the concerns of Ontarians who are tired of the scandals and the waste, tired of a government that can’t seem to get results…and giving them a choice.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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