November 12, 2015 - 8:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - There are four candidates looking to take on the role of chief for the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc band while another 20 candidates are hoping to make a mark as a councillor.
Incumbent Chief Shane Gottfriedson announced he would not be running in the election slated for Nov. 14 after winning his campaign for B.C. Regional Chief. Now for the first time since 2003, the spot is open.
Here are the following candidates looking to lead the band:
George Casimir worked as a council member for more than 18 years with the band. He credits his experience as a housing manager and education supervisor as preparation for the top role.
"My platform is to focus on issues and projects that will pull our community together. I will engage our community in the decision making process. Our membership need to be heard and listened to. I have been involved over the years negotiating with municipal, provincial and federal governments,” he says in his application package.
"There's so many issues to start with (if elected)," Casimir says. "It’s bringing our community together first and foremost. The election process does divide our community. It is so important that we work with our people and be accountable and transparent with our people and give them reassurance."
Frank Paul, a former RCMP officer originally from the reservation, hopes to return home after his 28-year career. If elected, Paul says he wants to address fiscal stewardship and budget accountability. He hopes to remove systematic barriers for development and maintain the band’s relationship with the City of Kamloops.
“The better both of our communities do side-by-side, the better we do collectively,” he says.
In his mission statement, Paul says he plans to ‘recognize and actively seek out opportunities for meaningful engagement of stakeholders to create opportunities for sustainable economic development while still maintaining and asserting our constitutionally protected rights as Aboriginal Peoples.'
If elected as chief, current councillor Fred (Sups) Seymour plans to address health, elders, education, economic development, sports, housing, designated lands and social programs. Seymour declined an interview.
Champion bull-rider and councillor James (Jimmy) Thomas hopes to bring dental coverage and home ownership to band members, if elected. He also hopes to create small business opportunities in the community to create extra funds. Thomas says he chose to run in the election after many people in the community asked him to. If elected, he says he'll focus on better communication with the community.
"It just seems there could be more of a better process to communicate with (people). Getting feedback to their issues. There has to be a process put in place to communicate with members in a more meaningful manner,” he says. “I’m just hoping that everything goes good for the community in their elections and they get a good representation at that table."
An advance poll was held last weekend and the regular poll is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Moccasin Square Gardens 357-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Visit the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc website to read more on all candidates.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015