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Hunter announces mayoral bid in Kamloops

Sadie Hunter is the third incumbent councillor to declare a bid for the city’s highest political office in the Oct. 15 civic election
Sadie Hunter election campaign
Kamloops Coun. Sadie Hunter announces her mayoral bid on June 23, 2022. At her announcement were spouse Garrett Hunter (second from left), Kamloops Coun. Dale Bass (third from right) and family and other supporters.

A third city councillor is running for mayor in the Oct. 15 civic election.

At a press conference in front of city hall on Thursday (June 23), Sadie Hunter announced her intention to seek the mayor’s chair that will be vacated by Ken Christian, who is not seeking re-election.

“I’m stepping forward to bring a new perspective to city hall, where I will continue to use my voice, experience and education to elevate others who otherwise aren’t heard and continue to be a strong and positive advocate for Kamloops,” Hunter said.

Hunter, a 42-year-old first-term councillor and communications consultant, is the third incumbent councillor — Dieter Dudy and Arjun Singh are the others — to announce a bid for mayor. Businessmen Ray Dhaliwal and Reid Hamer-Jackson have also announced mayoral runs.

Hunter said she is proud of what she accomplished in the past four years, including advocating for accessibility and inclusion to be part of city projects, a new equity diversity and inclusion staff member at city hall, new resources for emergency planning, support for mental health and addictions, supportive housing, emergency shelters and affordable housing. She also noted her recent support for a city incentive program to attract and retain general practitioners.

Hunter has also been director at large with the Union of BC Municipalities, where she said she fostered relationships with mayors and councillors across the province.

Hunter said she has a personal understanding of what it means to live below the poverty line, live with a disability, support a family and maintain a business.

During her time on council, Hunter said, she felt at times as though her voice was not heard, something that also helped to inform her decision to run for mayor.

She also said she experienced bullying and intimidation during her time on council. When asked by KTW who had bullied her, Hunter replied, “I won’t be naming anyone, sorry.” Asked if it was council or the public, she said: "I would say it comes from all sides."

Hunter said she has been thinking about her decision throughout the term, which began in late 2018. Hunter also ran as the BC NDP candidate for Kamloops-North Thompson in the 2020 provincial election, during which time she stepped aside from council, losing to incumbent BC Liberal MLA Peter Milobar by fewer than 200 votes.

As for whether she can beat Dudy and Singh, Hunter said she is not running against anyone, but for the community.

So far, Hunter is the only woman in the mayoral race — something she said does not surprise her.

Hunter said she sees Kamloops on the cusp of change in the next four years. She said the city needs to come together and realize its potential. She said she understands concern about community safety and noted additional concerns moving forward are inflation and allocation of resources during extreme weather events.

Hunter was joined at the announcement by members of her family and Coun. Dale Bass, who teared up during Hunter’s announcement. Asked if she is endorsing Hunter, Bass said she would be keeping her vote private, but adding, “I support Sadie in everything she does, all the time.”

Hunter’s mother-in-law, Joanne Hunter, said her daughter-in-law would make a good mayor because she is hard-working and caring.

“She really, really truly cares about people, so it’s not about her getting in a position of mayor. I think it’s about her doing what she can do for the community,” she said.

Hunter’s spouse, Garret Hunter, said he has watched Hunter step up to challenges in their life.

“When she puts her mind to something, she goes all in and really approaches tasks to absorb enough information and make all the best decisions for us, so I have the utmost faith in her in taking on this role,” he said.