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ELECTION 2015: Liberal candidate hopes to be unifying force in new riding

Summerland resident Connie Denesiuk will be representing the Liberals in the upcoming federal election in the new riding of South Okanagan - West Kootenay.

PENTICTON - The Liberal candidate for the new federal riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay feels her party is ideally situated, ideologically, to represent the area in Ottawa.

Connie Denesiuk says Liberals have a history of bringing people together, something she is also noted for.

“This is a huge, diverse riding containing 40 communities, every one different,” she says.

“I think the MP will need to spend time throughout the riding to understand the uniqueness each part of the riding contains. It’s a new opportunity, even though it’s huge and diverse, for us to bring people together, something I am good at,” she says, noting traditionally in the past, the South Okanagan and West Kootenays were split between right leaning voters in the Okanagan and left leaning voters in West Kootenay.

“I’ve told people I will represent them whether they vote for me or not,” she says. “Some people are surprised to hear that.”

Denesiuk’s community involvement comes from 19 years spent as school board trustee, half of those years as board chair.

She has served on the board of the Summerland Credit Union and the Chamber of Commerce. She’s currently on a leave of absence as director on the Board of Governors at Okanagan College.

The 57-year-old Summerland resident has owned and operated a construction business with her husband for the past 34 years. The couple, who celebrate 38 years of marriage today, have four adult children and three grandchildren.

Denesiuk says one of her top priorities is managing the environment.

“My family loves the outdoors — camping and kayaking — so looking after the environment is important to me,” she says.

“I believe Canada needs to get back on track. We need real change,” she says, adding she is concerned about the direction Canada is going under Prime Minister Harper. Denesiuk feels the Liberals under Justin Trudeau offer the best hope for Canada’s middle class, and the economy.

Denesiuk feels the leading issues in South Okanagan - West Kootenay include getting the economy back on track through practical initiatives like investment in infrastructure, making post secondary education more accessible, and improving markets abroad by marketing our goods to our trading partners.

“We’ve seen a shrinking GDP and we need to build that up again,” she says.

“We also need to invest in research and innovation. There’s no reason Canada shouldn’t be a leader, particularly in environmental innovations. It’s time to take our position as a world leader,” she says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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