First hat thrown in the ring to replace retiring MP

Margaret Maximenko of Christina Lake is seeking a nomination for the newly created South Okanagan West Kootenay Riding.

With the ink barely dry on NDP MP Alex Atamanenko’s press release stating he will not run in the next federal election, one potential nominee has already thrown her hat in the ring.

Margaret Maximenko, a Christina Lake resident and former Area C regional district director, stated Monday that she is seeking a nomination for the newly created South Okanagan West Kootenay Riding (SOWK).

“I’ve gained a lot of experience in the representational role that politicians must provide for their constituents at the local level and as a local government spokesperson,” said Maximenko.

After three terms in office, Atamanenko released his announcement Oct. 30 to allow people interested in the position, ample time to seek a nomination before an NDP candidate is formally selected next spring.

“Our new association won’t happen until early next year when we get the go-ahead to amalgamate with Penticton,” said the MP by phone from Ottawa Wednesday. “But citizens like Margaret who are interested in the position can get out there and start meeting people or contact me to learn what the job is all about.”

Atamanenko acknowledged the challenge of new electoral boundaries in the next federal election, slated for 2015.

“Traditionally, Penticton hasn’t been our area,” he said. “But in the last election our candidate did well, and it wasn’t a run away victory for the Conservatives. I think with proper feet on the ground and the folks in that area getting to know us and our platform,  we have a pretty good chance.”

Maximenko is ready for the challenge of newly formed riding.

“I’ve knocked on doors in Penticton for years,” she said. “I think people are feeling a less need to be partisan as in the past. There is a move to want to have your say so I think this is a very do-able area.”

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