Fraser-Nicola NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza was in Ashcroft on Oct. 9, where he met with members of the Ashcroft Slough Society on Evans Road. He says that his travels through the riding show that while the communities are similar, they each have different priorities. (from l) Dora Winwood; River Winwood; Aaron Sumexheltza; Gloria Mertens; Daniel Collett; Marina Papais.

Fraser-Nicola NDP candidate Aaron Sumexheltza was in Ashcroft on Oct. 9, where he met with members of the Ashcroft Slough Society on Evans Road. He says that his travels through the riding show that while the communities are similar, they each have different priorities. (from l) Dora Winwood; River Winwood; Aaron Sumexheltza; Gloria Mertens; Daniel Collett; Marina Papais.

Meet the Fraser-Nicola candidates: Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP)

‘I have a long history of helping the communities of this region grow and thrive’

1) Your current occupation and place of residence.

I am a lawyer with the Nicola Valley Indigenous Justice Centre in Merritt, where I live with my wife and our newborn son.

2) Have you ever held elected office?

I am a councillor with the Lower Nicola Indian Band and was honoured to serve as chief. During my two terms, we worked with communities to put a moratorium on harmful biosolids entering the Nicola Valley, installed the largest community solar power system in the province, and worked hard to build economic development opportunities for our region.

3) What prompted you to run, and why did you choose to run for the NDP?

People in our region are struggling. Not only are they dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19, but mill closures in rural B.C. and decades of Liberal inaction have meant that people face the tough choice between leaving their communities or staying with limited employment opportunities. I chose the NDP because they are supporting the forestry sector and working to ensure communities benefit. There’s more work to do. I am running to be a strong voice for our region and ensure there are good jobs in Fraser-Nicola.

4) What do you see as the top two or three issues affecting the residents of the Ashcroft/Cache Creek/Clinton area of the riding, and how would you address them

Health care and housing are two key issues. Limited staffing hours, with doctor and nursing shortages, have resulted in emergency room closures. Many residents are struggling to find or afford housing that works for them, and this impacts health care when they struggle to find housing. The Liberals cut funding to the services we depend on. The NDP has already taken the first steps by investing in health care and housing, but you can’t fix 16 years of neglect in three years. We have committed to hiring more doctors, nurses, and health professionals, building more hospitals and Urgent Primary Care Centres across the province. The NDP government already invested historic amounts in housing for low- and middle-income earners, including seniors, and has committed to the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.’s history: more than $7 billion over 10 years.

5) What do you see as the number one issue for the riding as a whole?

For too long, we’ve seen family, friends, and neighbours forced to wait for quality health care or travel to larger centres to get it. That’s why we have made commitments to expand a whole range of health care services in rural B.C. After years of BC Liberal underfunding, John Horgan and health minister Adrian Dix have taken steps to deliver the care British Columbians need. I’m particularly excited about the promise to build a cancer treatment centre in Kamloops. Our friends and family will be closer to the care they need, saving them time and money while improving care.

6) What makes you the best candidate for Fraser-Nicola?

I was born and raised here, from a ranching family. I love this area and the people. As a practicing lawyer of 14 years, I fought to ensure Residential School survivors get the support they need. I have a long history of helping the communities of this region grow and thrive. If elected, I will work hard every day to bring economic development opportunities to our riding and ensure every community in Fraser-Nicola has a strong voice in an NDP government.

Voting information

General election day is Saturday, Oct. 24. Advance voting (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day) will take place as follows:

Ashcroft: Ashcroft HUB, daily from Oct. 17 to Oct. 20 inclusive

Cache Creek: Community Hall, Oct. 15 and Oct. 16

Clinton: Memorial Hall, Oct. 15 to Oct. 17 inclusive

Loon Lake: Community Hall, Oct. 18 and Oct. 19

Lytton: Lytton First Nation Memorial Hall, Oct. 19 and Oct. 20

On Oct. 24 you can vote at any of the locations above. In addition, voting places will be open in Spences Bridge (Clemes Hall) and Walhachin (Soldiers Memorial Hall).

For a complete list of voting places and dates, go to https://bit.ly/30XU8xH (advance voting) and https://bit.ly/2SLe962 (general voting day). Voters should bring their “Where to Vote” card, which they should have received in the mail, as well as one piece of valid ID that shows your name and address (street address, not just P.O. Box) or two pieces of other ID. For a list of accepted pieces of ID, go to https://bit.ly/3nBkwap.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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