Don’t know who to vote for in Oct. 20 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions? We have sug­ges­tions

Ten first-time can­di­dates from the Okana­gan Val­ley who you may want to con­sider vot­ing for on Oct. 20

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

In­cum­bents have a huge ad­van­tage (es­pe­cially in Kelowna; Sum­mer­land, not so much) when they seek re-elec­tion in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics. It’s all name recog­ni­tion.

Peo­ple of­ten say they’d like to vote for some­one new, but don’t know who to vote for, and end up go­ing with rec­og­niz­able names (in­cum­bents).

We’ve been fol­low­ing the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions for mayor, coun­cil and school board in the Cen­tral and South Okana­gan closely over the past month.

Here are some first-time can­di­dates — across the val­ley — who you may want to con­sider vot­ing for.

PHILIP AKINS West Kelowna

In West Kelowna, Philip Akins is a can­di­date vot­ers might want to spend the last week of the elec­tion cam­paign learn­ing more about.

He’s only lived in the com­mu­nity for a decade, hav­ing mar­ried into the well-known and long-es­tab­lished Payn­ter fam­ily, but Akins strikes us as a thought­ful, com­pas­sion­ate, and in­tel­li­gent as­pir­ing politi­cian.

He has a doc­toral de­gree in govern­ment, and a master’s de­gree in con­flict res­o­lu­tion, two ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­ties that might come in handy on the of­ten lively West Kelowna coun­cil.

His plat­form calls for more po­lice, which many can­di­dates trum­pet, but also sug­gests the city get in­volved in the pro­vi­sion of so­cial hous­ing, which would be new ground for the decade-old mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Akins would like to see more tax­payer­funded ameni­ties like bike paths and recre­ation cen­tres, but also rec­og­nizes the ben­e­fits of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity sup­port­ing and fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­spon­si­ble de­vel­op­ment and growth.

JOHN ARCHER Pen­tic­ton

If elected, John Archer will be the first openly-gay coun­cil­lor in Pen­tic­ton’s his­tory. He’s been ac­tive with the South Okana­gan Sim­ilka­meen Pride group as trea­surer and he and his hus­band were mar­ried in a pub­lic cer­e­mony at the Pen­tic­ton Art Gallery on a week that cel­e­brate di­ver­sity.

Archer do­nates much of his time to the art gallery, but he’d like to be­come a city coun­cil­lor.

He cer­tainly has tons of life ex­pe­ri­ences. He spent 10 years as a court re­porter, later own­ing his own court re­port­ing busi­ness. He was in­volved with the Van­cou­ver real es­tate mar­ket and gave it all up to re­lo­cate to the Okana­gan where he op­er­ated a 4.5-star bed and break­fast. With tourism be­ing an eco­nomic driver of Pen­tic­ton, he has ex­pe­ri­ence in that field.

Most im­por­tant, Archer is an ex­tremely smart in­di­vid­ual. He’s pas­sion­ate, but also calm and rea­son­able.

MAR­JORIE BRIMS Peach­land

Mar­jorie Brims is as re­fresh­ing as a tall glass of lemon­ade on a hot sum­mer day.

She’s run­ning for the po­si­tion of school board trustee in the Dis­trict of Peach­land and Tsin­stikep­tum IR No. 9 and No. 10 (Zone II).

She had a long and suc­cess­ful ca­reer with In­te­rior Health, work­ing in the physio de­part­ment which led to be­ing in charge of oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety in Kelowna.

Born in Scot­land, she has a Mas­ters de­gree in health stud­ies from Athabasca Uni­ver­sity. Although she’s lived in Peach­land for only a rel­a­tively short pe­riod of time, she’s be­come ac­tive on nu­mer­ous com­mit­tees.

As a for­mer Girl Guide leader, she cer­tainly has the com­pas­sion and un­der­stand­ing that young peo­ple face.

She’s run­ning on a cam­paign of “pos­i­tive change” and, if elected, would def­i­nitely bring a wel­come and fresh per­spec­tive to the Cen­tral Okana­gan School Board.

She looks like a win­ner to us.

ISAAC GIL­BERT Pen­tic­ton

With 24 can­di­dates seek­ing one of six spots on Pen­tic­ton city coun­cil, it’s tough for the new can­di­dates to cre­ate any kind of a buzz.

Isaac Gil­bert, a park ranger who has been in­volved in mul­ti­ple projects within the City of Pen­tic­ton, has done re­mark­ably well in the fo­rums, con­sid­er­ing he only has three to four min­utes to show­case his plat­form.

He has been car­less for six years and is a huge ad­vo­cate of pub­lic tran­sit, ride and car shar­ing, and cy­cling.

Gil­bert, 31, is ca­pa­ble of think­ing out­side of the box and founded the Peach Gravy The­atre Co­op­er­a­tive.

As the sec­ond-youngest can­di­date run­ning for Pen­tic­ton city coun­cil, he has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of youth vot­ers.

KATHY PIERRE SD67 Ru­ral trustee

A school teacher and ed­u­ca­tional ad­min­is­tra­tor with the Pen­tic­ton In­dian Band, Pierre is seek­ing a spot on the Okana­gan Skaha School Dis­trict 67 as their ru­ral trustee, rep­re­sent­ing West Bench, Kale­den, Nara­mata and parts of the Pen­tic­ton In­dian Re­serve.

As Cana­di­ans are tak­ing baby steps at rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties, an ex­cel­lent start would be elect­ing Pierre to the school board.

Our schools are di­verse, and so should our school trustees. The Okana­gan Skaha board has a habit of re-elect­ing mid­dle-aged white women and men time and time again. Pierre’s pas­sion, ever since the age of seven, has been ed­u­ca­tion. Her mother was a res­i­den­tial schools sur­vivor, but still en­cour­aged her daugh­ter to pur­sue her dream of be­com­ing a teacher.

Pierre’s plat­form ex­tends well be­yond First Na­tions is­sues as she would be a strong ad­vo­cate for all stu­dents and teach­ers.

FRANK REGEHR Pen­tic­ton

It’s not of­ten you get the chance to elect a re­tired pub­lic-sec­tor fi­nance pro­fes­sional to city coun­cil, but that’s the op­por­tu­nity in front of Pen­tic­ton vot­ers who will see the name Frank Regehr on their bal­lots.

He re­tired in 2010 af­ter serv­ing 22 years as sec­re­tary-trea­surer for the Okana­gan Skaha school dis­trict and its pre­de­ces­sors, and more re­cently has be­come one of city coun­cil’s sharpest watch­dogs by an­a­lyz­ing an­nual bud­gets.

It’s quite pos­si­ble he al­ready un­der­stands city fi­nances bet­ter than any­one on the present city coun­cil. If elected, staff wouldn’t be able to BS him. In ad­di­tion to his fi­nan­cial pedi­gree, he’s also cam­paigned on com­mit­ments to parks, arts and cul­ture and find­ing a way to get satel­lite com­mu­ni­ties to pay a fairer share to­wards Pen­tic­ton’s recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties.

DUSTIN SAR­GENT Kelowna

It’s fash­ion­able in some cir­cles to think of Kelowna city coun­cil as a bunch of heart­less right-wingers be­holden to busi­ness in­ter­ests.

But the truth is, of the nine peo­ple on the cur­rent coun­cil, only two have ex­pe­ri­ence own­ing and run­ning a busi­ness. Maybe that’s a big rea­son why mu­nic­i­pal taxes have soared 16 per cent in just four years.

This year’s field of coun­cil can­di­dates is no­tice­ably slim­mer than for past elec­tions, and few of the first time as­pi­rants have as var­ied a busi­ness back­ground as Dustin Sar­gent.

A past pres­i­dent of the Down­town Kelowna As­so­ci­a­tion, he’s been in­volved with busi­nesses such as Soma Craft Cider and Kelowna CrossFit, and has ad­mirable ex­pe­ri­ence in the so­cial hous­ing sec­tor.

Mar­ried with three kids, Sar­gent says he’s run­ning in part to help en­sure they grow up in a pros­per­ous and com­pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity.He’s worth your con­sid­er­a­tion next Satur­day.

DAVE STATHERS Sum­mer­land

Stathers re­tired from teach­ing last June, but is still pas­sion­ate for ed­u­ca­tion and stu­dents and is run­ning for a spot on the Okana­gan Skaha School Dis­trict. His stel­lar 30-year teach­ing ca­reer at Sum­mer­land Sec­ondary School in­cluded do­nat­ing his time as coach of the bas­ket­ball team.

Stathers’ plat­form is putting Sum­mer­land first, some­thing that’s been sadly lack­ing over the past four years. He prom­ises to bat­tle to keep Trout Creek School open (which was sched­uled to close) and to lobby for long-over­due up­grades to the high school’s gym­na­sium.

His own kids went through the school and he lived a dream when in the fi­nal year of his ca­reer, one of his col­leagues was his daugh­ter, Melissa.

His pro­fes­sional ca­reer ex­tended be­yond teach­ing. In his 20s, he was a jour­nal­ist for nearly a decade.

DAN WAL­TON Pen­tic­ton

Tra­di­tion­ally jour­nal­ists have done well when they’ve run for pub­lic of­fice. In Kelowna, Mayor Colin Basran and Coun. Mohini Singh were one-time CHBC re­porters. Char­lie Hodge is a re­tired jour­nal­ist.

For­mer Pen­tic­ton mayor Mau­rice Fin­nerty owned the lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion. On a larger scale, pro­vin­cial premiers Ralph Klein and Christy Clark were for­mer ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties. Sure, some of it is name recog­ni­tion, but as re­porters, they do un­der­stand what’s go­ing on.

En­ter Dan Wal­ton. The ed­i­tor of The Peach­land View and a for­mer re­porter at the Pen­tic­ton Western News is run­ning for a po­si­tion on the school board.

Still in his 20s, sin­gle and child­less, Wal­ton is both in­ex­pe­ri­enced and a tad naive, but he’s cer­tainly well aware of the is­sues hav­ing cov­ered the con­tentious school clo­sures in the Okana­gan School Dis­trict in 2016. The peo­ple in Peach­land love him. He’s the breath of fresh air that the school board is sadly miss­ing.

LOYAL WOOLDRIDGE Kelowna

If Loyal Wooldridge is elected to Kelowna coun­cil in the Oct. 20 civic elec­tion, he will be the city’s first openly gay coun­cil­lor.

But don’t vote for Wooldridge be­cause he’s gay and don’t not vote for him be­cause he’s gay. His cam­paign plat­form ex­tends well be­yond hu­man rights.

The owner of Loyal Hair sa­lon prom­ises to bring his both his busi­ness mind and so­cial heart to coun­cil cham­bers.

Af­ter all, he’s the man who has melded the I Am Me and Own It em­pow­er­ment and anti-bul­ly­ing mot­tos and cam­paigns in to both his busi­ness and his phi­lan­thropy.

“My vi­sion is to en­cour­age re­spon­si­ble, sus­tain­able ad­vance­ment of Kelowna by con­tin­u­ing to come to­gether as a col­lec­tive com­mu­nity and in­spire pos­i­tive, in­clu­sive ad­vance­ment,” he said.

“I be­lieve a com­pre­hen­sive com­mu­nity and vi­brant econ­omy is achieved by us­ing strong busi­ness prac­tices with a com­pas­sion­ate heart.”

Wooldridge’s four elec­tion cam­paign pil­lars are hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and avail­abil­ity, trans­porta­tion rev­o­lu­tion, tourism and jobs and com­plete com­mu­nity.

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: Okana­gan Top 10 is a weekly opin­ion piece on top­ics rang­ing from pol­i­tics to pub­lic parks and from mu­sic to cof­fee shops.

This week’s list was limited to first-time can­di­dates who have never run for pub­lic of­fice.

Fi­nal choices were made by val­ley ed­i­tor James Miller, based on in­put from re­porters who are presently cov­er­ing elec­tions.

To com­ment on this, or any story in the Okana­gan Week­end edi­tion, please email: james.miller@ok.bc.ca.

Stathers

Sar­gent

Wooldridge

Regehr

Wal­ton

Pierre

Gil­bert

Brims

Archer

Akins

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