LINCOLN SQUARE — What a difference four years make.
In 2011, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) squeaked into office having barely mustered the 50 percent of votes needed to avoid a run-off.
On Tuesday, Pawar was re-elected to a second term by a landslide, nabbing 83 percent of votes in the ward versus 17 percent for challenger Rory Fiedler. Pawar's margin of victory and percentage of ballots cast in his favor were the highest in the city.
"It feels great," he said. "I'm lucky. I'm very lucky."
Pawar ran in large part on the strength of his commitment to neighborhood schools.
Voters' overwhelming support is "a mandate for k-12," he said, referring to his GROW47 program that would coordinate local efforts for students from kindergarten through high school.
Though criticized by Fiedler during the campaign for not focusing enough on ward services, Pawar said he won't be backing off from his role as legislator in his second term. Pushing through paid sick leave is tops on his agenda.
"The legislative piece is important," he said, adding that city-wide issues often have a direct impact on the ward.
"I don't buy the argument we haven't been responsive," said Pawar. "I've got this incredible team that works around the clock on service issues."
With the campaign and election behind him, Pawar, who married his former chief of staff in December, is looking forward to fitting a honeymoon into his schedule.
But for now his post-election plans are simple.
"Go to work," he said.
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