TORONTO, Ont. – Former Liberal cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne officially threw her hat into the provincial Liberal leadership race Monday, with a pledge to rebuild the minority Liberals’ strained relationship with teachers and other public sector workers.

Wynne promised to target the province’s $14.4-billion deficit and restore the Liberals’ contentious relationship with teachers protesting Premier Dalton McGuinty’s law that would restrict their bargaining rights and freeze their wages.

“As the premier, I would be reaching out to teachers and bringing them into talk to me about how we repair those relationships,” she said.

Though, Wynne would not say whether she would repeal the controversial law.

Teachers at the announcement were disappointed that they were asked to leave after they arrived at the event with picket signs on Bill 115.

“They had certain plans on how the night was going to go and they did not want that plan disrupted,” one teacher said.

The woman said there were no plans to interrupt the event but they were asked to leave and told they could stand outside, where a handful of teachers rallied.

“I will continue to seek the common ground in the public agenda. It requires openness, transparency, honesty and good faith,” Wynne said.

“I think I’ve demonstrated my commitment to those values in my public and in my private life.”

Resigning from cabinet Friday, Wynne cleared the way to launch her campaign to succeed McGuinty, whose surprise resignation Oct. 15, triggered the provincial Liberal leadership race.

He prorogued the legislature and told his ministers that they would have to resign from their post to run for the top spot.

Wynne was first elected in 2003 when the McGuinty Liberals took office.

She served as education minister from 2006 until 2010, then transportation minister for nearly a year before moving to municipal affairs and aboriginal affairs after the 2011 election.

Wynne is the second candidate to enter the race.

Glen Murray, former minister of training, colleges and universities, kicked off his own bid on Sunday.

Ex-cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello and former MP Gerard Kennedy are also rumoured to be considering leadership bids.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, Education Minister Laurel Broten, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and Energy Minister Chris Bentley have all said they will not run.

The deadline to submit a bid is Nov. 23.

McGuinty’s successor will be elected by Liberals at a leadership convention Jan. 25-27.