Some start with a simple interest in politics, others are born into it, Todd Stone is just right out passionate about it.
Since the age of 16 Stone, the B.C. Liberal Party candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson, has been involved in politics. A Liberal from the beginning whose “blood runs deep with Liberal Red,” Stone took part in a Young Liberals club and later would help Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark and Kevin Krueger with their campaigns.
Between his first involvement at 16 and his nomination as a provincial candidate Stone met his wife, got married, had three daughters and has grown a successful technology business, iCompass. The jump in to running as a candidate is just the next logical step in a path that has seen him work on campaigns, with different levels of government and engage in charitable causes, according to Stone.
Stone says jobs, healthcare and Ajax are definitely the top three issues people in Kamloops are concerned with. He wants to see continued economic development, practical solutions to help Royal Inland Hospital in the short-term and long-term and wants to be grounded in fact before making a decision on the proposed Ajax mine. Stone has promised to bring forth any petitions given to him as an MLA as well.
People are either going to agree with him, or they will not, Stone says, noting he prides himself on being well informed and knowing the details before making a decision. That has meant listening to the citizens of Kamloops and getting to know just what is on their minds and why.
Sometimes people vote for just the party, sometimes just the candidate and sometimes it is for the leader, Stone says, but the ideal scenario is having a good leader of a good party and a candidate with deep community roots. Stone says this is what he and the Liberal party are offering the people of Kamloops-South Thompson.
“I'm part of a team, very proud to be – I'm not running as an independent.”
A long-time family friend has been convinced, according to Stone. A conversation played out on a regular basis began as a simple joke over a friend's conversion to vote for the Liberal party – after voting for the NDP party all his life – recently had people questioning whether Stone is a proud Liberal.
He says there is no doubt about whether he is proud of his party or not; the overheard and regularly repeated “Stone, not Liberal” catch phrase that made it's rounds on social media was taken out of context and simply a joke between friends.
While he does not feel his life has been targeted the same way as some other politicians, he is very cognizant of the criticism you can face as a provincial politician, and one does not have to look any further than the Liberal party leader to see this. Having known Clark for 25 years leads Stone to defend the premier mercilessly and believes, at times, she is unfairly targeted because of her gender.
“I know her commitment, nobody works harder for B.C. She walks the walk”
Aside from knowing Clark more than half his life, Stone says he “completely and totally buys into her vision.”
Stone also knows that the job of MLA will bring with it changes for his family. His three daughters – 8, 6 and 4 - are why he is doing this, he says, and though the travel involved with the role will likely take him away from home regularly it should not be as much as when he travels for his company, which can be upwards of 20-22 weeks of the year.
“I will miss them dearly, but I'm doing this for them.”
His eldest daughter has been reading about what government is and learning about the role her dad just may take following the May 14 election. Recently she told him that she knows what he will be doing – helping people.
And her first request of her dad as an MLA? Ponies for all the kids under the age of eight, until she turns nine, and then it would be for the kids under nine of course.
Your other Kamloops-South Thompson candidates:
Tom Friedman, NDP
Peter Sharp, Conservative
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