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Newmarket-Aurora federal Conservatives elect new candidate

'For me, this isn't politics, it's personal,' says Sandra Cobena, who will challenge the Liberals to be the local riding's member of Parliament
The federal Newmarket-Aurora Conservatives have elected Sandra Cobena as their candidate for the next election.

The Newmarket-Aurora Conservatives have a new candidate who will vie to become the riding’s member of Parliament in the next election.

The federal association has elected Aurora resident Sandra Cobena, who bested three others for the position on Dec. 10, including Aurora deputy mayor and previous candidate Harold Kim.

Cobena and the association will now prepare for the federal election to come by 2025 at the latest, where they will attempt to win the seat currently held by Newmarket-Aurora Liberal MP Tony Van Bynen.

In a statement released by the association, Cobena said she ran to be a voice for the community.

“It's about rolling up our sleeves and crafting a Canada we're proud to pass on — a Canada that remains the land of opportunity and hope. For me, this isn't politics, it's personal,” she said.

Cobena, a commercial banker who is currently a senior manager at TD Bank, has lived in the riding since she immigrated to Canada from Ecuador as a teenager. She said she has long volunteered for Conservative campaigns starting in 2006.

Her husband is Matthijs van Gaalen, who was vice-president of the Conservative Party of Canada from 2018 to 2021, and they have three children. 

In addition to Kim and Cobena, Chad McCleave and Stephen Somerville also sought the local nomination. 

The association and party members have offered their congratulations on social media.

“We can't wait to get you elected as our next MP,” the association said.

Local Conservative Christopher Van-Lane said he is delighted by Cobena’s win.

“I have known Sandra and her family for 12 years, and enjoyed serving alongside her on the board of the Newmarket-Aurora Conservative Association,” he said. “Sandra has my full support.”

Issues that Cobena listed as important to her on her website include addressing “government excess,” empowering home ownership and prioritizing local interests.

She also said she wants to propose reforms to give women greater flexibility in maternal leave, uphold parental primacy in education, end the carbon tax and stop “the expansion of state-sanctioned euthanasia, especially for those grappling with mental health challenges.”

“As your Conservative candidate, I will work hard to deliver for our community,” Cobena said on her website.