City councillor Sadie Hunter has been acclaimed as the NDP’s candidate in Kamloops-North Thompson for the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Hunter announced her candidacy on Monday morning (Sept. 28) in front of about a dozen masked supporters and local media in McDonald Park in North Kamloops.
Hunter, a first-term city councillor who was elected in 2018, plans to take a leave of absence from her municipal post during the provincial election campaign. If elected, she could technically serve as both MLA and city councillor, but indicated she has not decided yet whether she would resign from council, a move that would trigger a byelection as there are two years left in the term.
“Depending on the outcome, we’ll go from there,” Hunter said.
Last week, Hunter was also elected as a Union of BC Municipalities director at large, from which she will also be taking a leave of absence.
Asked why she chose to run despite having committed to a four-year term on city council, Hunter said regardless of where she is elected, she will be representing the people of Kamloops.
“I’ve learned through my time in the last two years there are so many things we can’t get done at the council table, so when this opportunity arose, it felt like the right move to be able to advocate and provide support for those things that need to get done that we can’t get done there,” Hunter said.
Her plans to be the NDP candidate haven’t been in the works for long as she said it came together about two weeks ago.
“Until I was asked, it wasn’t on my radar,” she said.
Hunter said it’s a critical time for B.C. and the Kamloops region, noting she chose to run for the NDP because she has been impressed with the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hunter also noted positives for the area from the NDP government since it took power in 2017 — moving forward on the previously established patient-care tower project at Royal Inland Hospital, construction of Spero House supportive housing on the North Shore and helping to facilitate the Canfor forest licence tenure in the North Thompson Valley to ensure it included public benefits.
“We need to keep this momentum going,” Hunter said.
The Sun Rivers resident grew up in a small town in the Peace River region and has called Kamloops home for about 20 years.
“I understand the needs of diverse communities that make up this riding, whether that’s the Tranquille corridor, Brock, Little Fort or Clearwater,” Hunter said.
In addition to being a councillor, she runs her own communications and consulting business.
Fellow councillor Dale Bass, who introduced Hunter during Monday’s announcement, described her as the hardest-working councillor whose history will resonate with anyone in the riding.
“She’s smart, she’s analytical, but most importantly, she gets it,” Bass said. “She gets what the people of Kamloops-North-Thompson live. She’s been a single mom, she’s lived in subsidized housing, she’s worried about day care, she’s travelled for health care, she’s a small business person.”
British Columbians go to the polls on Oct. 24 and candidate nominations close on Friday, Oct. 2, at 1 p.m.
Hunter will square off against former Kamloops mayor and incumbent B.C. Liberal MLA Peter Milobar, while the BC Greens have yet to name a candidate for Kamloops-North Thompson.