Federal NDP candidate Gina Myhill-Jones is taking a swing at the upcoming election in October, saying she has a good idea of what needs to be done to improve life for the average working person.
The 100 Mile House resident counts her rich volunteering experience as an asset to her potential as a politician, noting she has a finely honed ability to listen and get to the root of what people are asking for.
“It’s hard to pin down an actual event that led to me deciding to (run), but I’ve been in the area for 10 years, I’ve been hoping for something to really start happening for the better in my community and all of the surrounding area and I guess I got tired of complaining,” said Myhill-Jones.
“It’s time to step up and do something.”
Myhill-Jones has been a volunteer since arriving in 100 Mile House, formerly helping at the local women’s centre society as a safehouse coordinator and now works as a community support worker for people with disabilities.
She was drawn to the NDP because the party’s values align with what she knows needs to happen to make the riding a better place to live for residents, she said, including its affordable housing policy platform, because safe affordable housing for everyone should be a priority.
Another issue she’d like to see addressed is transportation by making transit in the bigger centres greener and more affordable as well as beefing up services in the rural areas.
“In the city of Kamloops there are buses so you can get to and from work, but that can get really expensive, so you could make that urban transportation cleaner by making the buses electric and you could make it cheaper, or even free by a certain deadline,” she said.
“But by the time you get out where I live we’ve lost bus service and we now have seniors that can’t readily access medical appointments unless it’s on a certain schedule; we want to make transportation affordable, accessible and hopefully cleaner.”
Cleaner transportation goes hand in hand with addressing climate change, which is a topic she also has ideas for, noting it’s important to have a genuine plan for transitioning to cleaner technology.
Offering residents incentives like rebates for upgrading their homes with equipment such as solar panels is a way to begin that transition, she said, and will ultimately lead to savings on electricity bills.
Additionally, internet and cell phone service in rural areas is a point in need of attention for Myhill-Jones, which might sound like an entertainment issue to some, but is something she said she considers an absolute safety issue.
“One thing I’ve heard talked about is the need to reduce costs and make the internet and cell phone coverage accessible; I happen to live in an area where it’s not readily accessible and it’s terribly expensive. I think that stands true for most of our constituents that find themselves in a rural setting,” she said.
The fact internet and cell phone coverage in rural areas haven’t yet been improved by previous and current governments is concerning to Myhill-Jones because both can be vital tools in times of emergency when residents need quick access to information.
“Plus it would be nice to have a cap on the fees so you’re not looking at a choice to cut back something else just to be able to have access to the internet.”