What looked like a possible quiet win by acclamation for the incumbent NDP MLA Katrine Conroy has turned into a three-way contest for the opportunity to represent the Kootenay West riding.
Independent candidate Joseph Hughes from Nakusp confirmed his nomination and Castlegar’s Jim Postnikoff was nominated for the BC Liberals on Sunday.
There is still time for any undeclared candidates to enter the race as the nomination period for the 40th provincial general election remains open until April 26.
The 29-year-old Hughes is a small business owner, a carpenter by trade, and holds a diploma in marketing management. He says he has been involved with local government issues in the valley from a young age and has sat on the Nakusp village council since 2009.
“I’ve got a strong team and we’re eager for the gates to open,” said Hughes in a recent interview with the Times.
“We don’t have the same budget as the parties but we’ve already got a lot of momentum. I think people in my area are excited about supporting me because they see how I’ve handled things on the local council.”
Hughes believes that the voters in the Kootenay West riding will support an independent, without ties to a large political party.
“I think we have very important issues in our area and we need a strong advocate in Victoria,” said Hughes. “The best way is with an independent without any political agenda.”
Although unavailable for comment at press time, Postnikoff’s biography describes him as having worked in the mining/smelting and forestry industries before buying a hobby farm in Shoreacres where he grew up, near Castlegar.
He is currently self-employed, running a variety of small businesses.
At Conroy’s official opening of her campaign office in Castlegar last Saturday, she expressed her excitement at finally having opponents in the election.
“We are excited,” she told the Castlegar News. “We have a great team and I’m looking forward to getting on with the campaign.”
The provincial ridings on either side of Kootenay West are both fielding a similar number of candidates, if not necessarily representing the same parties.
To the east, in Nelson-Creston, incumbent, NDP MLA, Michelle Mungal will be facing Greg Garbula of the BC Liberal Party and Sjeng Derkx from the Green Party.
In the Boundary-Similkameen, to the west, Mischa Popoff is representing the BC Conservatives, Linda Larson is running for the Liberals, and Sam Hancheroff the NDP candidate.