In what could be shaping up as an interesting contest of would-be politicians, Summerland resident, Connie Denesiuk, became the fifth person, and first federal Liberal, to openly declare an intention to pursue a nomination to represent the newly formed South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.
Denesiuk, who has previously served as president of the B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) and currently holds positions on a number of boards, said she has a history in the West Kootenay.
“We love the Kootenay area, we chose it for our honeymoon when we were married and spend a few days at Christina Lake every summer,” she said. “My husband’s family is in Greenwood and when I was the BCSTA president I attended meetings in Christina Lake and all up and down the Kootenays.”
Although she claims to have a clear understanding of many of the concerns of people in the area from a provincial perspective, she acknowledges that dealing with matters on a federal level will require communicating with the residents.
“I’m aware of some challenges faced by people in the area; the resource based economy and decreasing enrollment in the education system,” Denesiuk said. “Federal issues can be quite different. What can we do at a federal level to improve the economy locally?”
Although the first to declare interest in running for the Liberals, Denesiuk joins other hopefuls, former regional district director, Margaret Maximenko, of Christina Lake, and environmentalist Richard Cannings, of Penticton, who will be competing for the NDP nomination.
So far, the majority of those seeking nomination are from the Okanagan side of the riding with only Hill and Maximenko residing in the Kootenay-Boundary area.
“I think everybody is looking at the Penticton riding and not necessarily looking at the whole riding,” said Hill. “It’s still very early on in the process though, this is the race to the race. At this point my race isn’t against the NDP, it’s against my competitors. This is where people have to ask, ‘What’s the quality of the candidate?’”