Kamloops byelection 2017: Get to know your council candidates | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops byelection 2017: Get to know your council candidates


KAMLOOPS - Even though only two council seats are available in the 2017 Kamloops byelection, it will be a full ballot when voters go to the polls on Sept. 30 as 22 people have entered the race.

To make it easier for voters to learn more about the candidates, iNFOnews.ca reached out to them with a few simple questions about themselves and their campaigns.

The following is written based on the responses from candidates who responed by the deadline:

Jennifer Adams

Biography: A self-employed entrepreneur, Adams has been a Kamloops resident since 2011 when she moved from Cranbrook, B.C. She has owned several businesses including a soap manufacturing company, a fire and flood restoration company, and a health consultation business. She has also spent time as a real estate investor with an affordable housing development plan and as the manager of a health food store.

Political Experience: Though she has no experience in running for office, Adams has spent time volunteering for three local political campaigns at the federal and provincial level.

Keys to Campaign: Adams would like to see Kamloops do more to capitalize on the anticipated legal marijuana market. She would like to see the city come up with a "made in Kamloops cannabis plan"  which would include consulting with the public on how the sale of weed should look in our city.

Opinion on Ajax: Against.

Nicholas Adams

Biography: Adams is the caretaker of a mobile home park in Kamloops and has been a resident in the city for 24 years.

Political Experience: While he has spent time serving on various boards in the community, this is his first attempt at making a run at politics.

Keys to Campaign: Adams is focusing on breaking down barriers to business, innovation, and personal growth. He feels the bylaw, planning, and zoning departments at city hall have been creating barriers for residents and wants to see more flexibility and leeway given to those looking for building variances and exceptions.

Opinion on Ajax: Opposed in the proposals current form but could be persuaded otherwise if more work is done.

Nancy Bepple

Biography: Bepple works as a co-op coordinator at Thompson Rivers Univeristy where she helps students find career related work. After growing up in Kamloops she moved back to her hometown 17 years ago.

Political Experience: Kamloops residents voted her into a council seat twice (2008 and 2011) and she held the post before having to leave for health reasons. She made a run at council in the last general election in 2014 but did not regain her seat. Bepple has also served three years as a director in the Thompson Nicola Regional District.

Keys to Campaign: The focus for Bepple if elected will be job growth. She points out that Kamloops has a lack of light industrial land that could be used for transportation, distribution, and manufacturing companies which she feels could help grow the city. With two-thirds of the population if Kamloops 15- to 64-years-old, she feels more jobs are needed for the working population.

Opinion on Ajax: Not opposed as long as First Nations concerns are handled properly and if the environmental impacts can be reduced.

Jesse Bochek

Biography: Bochek runs a photography/videography company called YKA Media while also working as a landscaper and a courier. He has lived in Kamloops for eight years and has lived in several parts of town including Brock, Juniper, and Aberdeen.

Political Experience: While he has never run for office himself he served as the Green Party's Secretary of Communications for the Kamloops South-Thompson riding for 2016/17. He also worked for Elections Canada in the 2015 federal campaign.

Keys to Campaign: Bochek says the key to his campaign is making sure people are taken care of. At the top of his list is dealing with the homelessness problem in the city and feels council can be doing more to communicate with higher levels of governement.

Opinion on Ajax: Respects councils decision to be opposed and wants to come up with a plan to move forward whether the mine is approved or not.

Ray Dhaliwal

Biography: Dhaliwal owns Rays Lock and Key and has been running the business in Kamloops since 1982. He was born and raised on the North Shore and attended Caribou College before it became TRU. He serves as a member of the Kamloops Multi-Cultural Society and has helped organize events in town like Canada Day. He is also on the board of the Center for Senior Information.

Political Experience: None.

Keys to Campaign: Dhaliwal wants to see Kamloops a more attractive city for businesses to move to town and set up shop. With affordable housing,a great university, and great outdoor activities in the region, he feels ti shouldn't be too hard to convince young business owners to make the move to Kamloops.

Opinion on Ajax: Supports the mine.

Jon Eadie

Biography: Eadie works as a Interior Express Connect Manager with BC Hydro and has lived in Kamloops for about three years after moving his family from Cranbrook.

Political Experience: He has not held a political post himself but watched his mother in work municipal politics for over a decade in Ontario. He also feels his work experience in planning, collaboration, and running projects on budget will help him in the role of councillor.

Keys to Campaign: The main issue for Eadie leading up to the byelection is the doctor shortage in Kamloops. He says council should be playing a more active role in attracting physicians by doing things like offering financial incentives.

Opinion on Ajax: Wants to do more research before forming a final opinion.

Dennis Giesbrecht

Biography: Giesbrecht is an inspector who grew up in Logan Lake before moving to Kamloops 13 years ago.

Political Experience: None.

Keys to Campaign: The biggest issue for Giesbrecht in this election is taxation and making sure people know where their money is going. He believes a lot of people feel ripped off by the city because they don't know what is being done with their tax dollars.

Opinion on Ajax: "Let's get it built."

Sadie Hunter

Biography: Hunter is the Director of Development for the Faculty of Science and the School of Nursing at Thompson Rivers University where she raises money for student awards and capital projects such as the new nursing building. She has been a Kamloops resident for 16 years.

Political Experience: Though she has never held a political position she has experience attending the Union of B.C. Municipalities and other local government association gatherings. She feels this has given her plenty of experience in the lobbying process and she knows what it takes to bring an initiative through several levels of government and gain approval.

Keys to Campaign: Hunter's focus is on diversifying the cities economy and would like to see more work done to raise the profile of Kamloops in order to attract talent. She feels the city should be promoting responsible and innovative resource development as well as doing more to grow the tech sector.

Opinion on Ajax: Supports the current council's opposition of the mine.

Jim Johal

Biography: Johal is a Senior Area Manager for Petro-Canada as well as a Project Superintendent for a construction company and a small business owner. He has lived his entire life in Kamloops.

Political Experience: None since serving on the council in his high school.

Keys to Campaign: A focus on fiscal responsibility is the most important thing for Johal as he feels the city needs an attitude change towards doing more to save money. He feels with proper planning the city could avoid increasing taxes every year while also avoiding cuts to services. He believes the cities budget is big enough to find savings, but feels the right leadership is need to do so.

Opinion on Ajax: We need to start preparing for what comes next once the official decision is made.

Caroline King

Biography: King is a Registered Care Aide and has been a resident in Kamloops for 38 years.

Political Experience: No direct experience but volunteered on the Todd Stone provincial campaign.

Keys to Campaign: She wants to see a better relationship formed between the business and investment communities and feels those relationships are key to helping the non-profit societies in the region.

Opinion on Ajax: None. Wants to see the environmental assessment application process completed so those in charge can make the decision.

Leslie Lax

Biography: Lax is a consulting economist who has worked in economic development for two decades. He holds a Masters degree in Economics and has spent five years working on strategic planning with local governments and First Nations. He has been a Kamloops resident for four years.

Political Experience: Though he has not ran for or been elected to a political position, Lax has served on the boards of a number of community and economic development organisations. He has also worked alongside council while doing consulting work.

Keys to Campaign: Being an economist, Lax believes fiscal responsibility is the biggest item on the list of issues for the city. He would like to see a budget reset by requiring each department to disclose what their service targets are and why it needs a specific budget to achieve those targets. Once that information is out, council can make better informed decisions when it comes to spending.

Opinion on Ajax: Opposed

Jeanne Marr

Biography: Marr is an Administrative Assistant in the Kamloops-Thompson School District and has lived in Kamloops her entire life.

Political Experience: None.

Keys to Campaign: Developing clean and sustainable jobs in the tech sector without compromising the industrial sector. She would like to see more of a focus placed on keeping students from TRU living in Kamloops to help grow the city.

Opinion on Ajax: Opposed

Bill Sarai

Biography: Sarai is a Canada Post letter carrier and has lived in Kamloops for 22 years. He has served three years on the Kamloops Social-Planning Council, been a member of Parent Advisory Council committees, coached youth soccer, and has served as a member of local executive committees.

Political Experience: None.

Keys to Campaign: Sarai wants to bring the voice of the people to the council table. He believes the economy needs to grow and capitalize on local strengths in order to keep taxes down and attract new business. He points to the way council handled the Daily News building as an example of the poor choices coming out of City Hall.

Opinion on Ajax: Believes it could be part of the answer in solving the cities economic issues.

Tracy Schmidt

Biography: Schmidt works in Real Estate Photography and Marketing and has been a Kamloops resident for 43 years.

Political Experience: None.

Keys to Campaign: Keeping tax dollars in Kamloops in order to see  businesses benefit and the city flourish.

Opinion on Ajax: Council's opinion is a moot point as it is a federal and provincial decision.

Brad Serl

Biography: Serl is an instructor at TRU and was born and raised in Kamloops with a 12 year stint in South Korea after graduating from university. He has been back in Kamloops since 2014.

Political Experience: None in Canada though he did hold an elected teaching position in South Korea.

Keys to Campaign: He would like to see Kamloops be more welcoming to new business, particularly the tech sector. He feels that would create high-paying and sustainable jobs that redress environmental and societal concerns.

Opinion on Ajax: Opposed.

Kathy Sinclair

Biography: Sinclair is the Executive Director of the Kamloops Arts Council and has lived in the city for almost six years. She has done volunteer work with Literacy in Kamloops, the SPCA, the Kamloops Power Choir, Daybreak Rotary, and other local initiatives. She has also been involved with not-for-profit committees, task forces, and boards. She was a founding member of the Interior CarShare Co-operative board of directors as well.

Political Experience: None.

Keys to Campaign: Sinclair's focus is on social, economic and environmental sustainability. She would like to see more work done to handle the affordable housing issue in Kamloops and is not in favour of the new recycling program that no longer allows certain items in residential recycling bins.

Opinion on Ajax: Opposed.

Gerald Watson

Biography: Watson is a Real Estate Lawyer and has lived in Kamloops for 40 years with the exception of his time at law school in Vancouver.

Political Experience: After a couple of failed campaigns to become a Trustee in the Kamloops-Thompson School District in the 90s Watson has been elected in each election since 2002. He was also elected as the BC Public School Employers' Association Director in 2013.

Keys to Campaign: He feels affordable housing is the biggest issue facing Kamloops today. He would like to see the city invest more in getting new building lots available for purchase as existing lots are being purchased faster than the inventory can be replenished which could lead to a real shortage.

Opinion on Ajax: Wants to see council focus on risk management and negotiating the best possible deal for the city.

For more on the 2017 byelection, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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