As the only two girls in a tight-knit Italian family, Dr. Grace Tridico and her younger sister Lorena have always done everything together. Their sisterly endeavours include standing up for Terri Schiavo’s right-to-life and fighting a proposed strip club in their community. Thus, friends and family were not surprised when the Tridico sisters put their names forward in Ontario’s 2006 municipal election.

Grace, 34, and her husband are new parents to son Michael. Grace is a chiropractor by profession and a new trustee with the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board.

“Being a new mother has changed my focus,” Grace told The Interim. “I was speaking as a young medical professional when I fought for Terri Schiavo. I remember stating in our multi-cultural society newsletter at the time of the debate, ‘Doctors pledge an oath to preserve life, not to destroy it … I do not believe that the removal of a feeding tube is either painless or humane.’”

She adds: “And while my sister took the lead in fighting the strip club, I was speaking as a young woman when I stood by her … But I’m a mother now.  So I feel drawn to the issue of education.”

As Grace says, “I want our children in the Catholic school system to grow up with the same family values that Lorena and I grew up with. Strong values make for a strong community. I stand with the Catholic church when it comes to family values (on) abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’ and the dignity of women.”

Grace’s younger sister Lorena also won her riding. The 32-year-old hairdresser and community activist is Sault Ste. Marie’s newest city councillor. She defeated four other candidates, including two incumbents, in the city’s ward system to garner the most votes in Ward 4.

Lorena had earned the respect of Ward 4 residents when she spearheaded a movement to stop a proposed strip club in Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown core.  “Strip clubs are degrading to women,” Lorena states. “And they’re often associated with increased violence against women and children. As a young woman, I simply could not tolerate this near a residential area where children are riding their bicycles.”

While Lorena’s struggle against the strip club was successful, it was not without personal risk. She was personally threatened when she appealed the previous council’s zoning of the strip club to the Ontario Municipal Board. Her home, her car and her hairdressing salon were vandalized, as were those of other vocal businesses and home owners who supported her.

The OMB would ultimately vindicate her efforts and stop the proposed strip club. “You can say that our family’s traditional Italian values got me elected,” Lorena says. “I stood up for seniors, young people and residential families when it came to the strip club and they stood up for me on election day.”