Norm Letnick: Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country
You might know him as a college professor, a former city councillor or as the current Minister of Agriculture, but on May 14 Norm Letnick just hopes to be elected Liberal MLA for another four years.
The father of three says if that doesn't pan out, he's open to teaching university level business and is currently completing a PhD in health economics.
“I've been serving all my life. I was in Boy Scouts, I was in Cadets, I was in the Canadian Forces Reserve serving my country,” he says. “I put myself through university by teaching mountain climbing.”
Leaving behind a 20-year business career in Alberta's Bow Valley, Letnick came to Kelowna in 1999 to teach business at then Okanagan University College. Today his goal is to continue advocating for the Liberals' free-enterprise objectives, which have brought $1.5 billion in investments to the Okanagan.
“I take my work as a public servant seriously. Just like a business, everyone is a client. I want do everything I can to make sure my customers are happy,” Letnick says. His method is simple – survey people to find out what they want.
“I spend a lot of time on Twitter, on Facebook, knocking on doors- I've knocked on thousands of doors over the last four years,” he says.
Since elected MLA in 2009, he's been working with colleagues Ben Stewart and Steve Thomson in what they call “Team Okanagan.” Letnick says they've secured a number of major investments, including:
• a new $430 million cardiac surgical unit
• 6-laning Highway 97 from Edwards road to Highway 33
• upgrading the Sexsmith interestion at Highway 97
• investing $25 million for trades program
• over $100 million in expansions for UBC Okanagan
Letnick says he thrives on juggling various projects.
“It's like a honey-do list, once you've knocked off a few things the list doesn't get any shorter, something else goes on there and that's public service, you can never sit back and say, oh its done!” he says.“You really need to get up every morning and say yes, I want to help, and I want to serve. The day that you get up and say 'oh geeze I don't know,' that's the day you should hang up your spurs and move on.”
“Luckily I haven't approached that day yet,” he says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.