Connie Denesiuk is once again stepping into the political arena, seeking the Liberal nomination to run in the fall 2019 federal election.
“I really believe that I have a job to do. I am good at advocacy, and just sincerely believe that I have something to offer and that I can help to make people’s lives better,” said Denesiuk. “I know that sounds big but it is the truth.”
Denesiuk, a longtime school trustee and chair of the Okanagan-Skaha school board, also ran in the 2014 federal election as the Liberal candidate for the then newly formed South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding.
“I feel compelled to continue,” said Denesiuk, adding that she knows a number of people don’t try again after being unsuccessful in their first attempt to get elected.
“A few of the people who have been mentors to me, women who are MPs currently — Anita Vandenbeld and Kim Rudd — they were both successful on their second run.”
In 2015, she said, many people didn’t think the Liberal party stood a chance in South Okanagan — West Kootenay. The Western part of the riding voted strongly conservative, while the Kootenays had supported the NDP’s Alex Atamanenko through a number of elections.
“We had six per cent in 2011 and many people dismissed the Liberal party locally because of the history. There hasn’t been a Liberal elected here since the ‘70s and never a woman,” said Denesiuk. “Our popularity continued to rise throughout the election. We’re now contenders. We did well with far less money than the other parties had to spend.”
In the intervening years, Denesiuk said she has made good use of her time, working on a Master of Arts degree in Leadership at Royal Roads University, due to be completed later this year.
“Additionally, I have served as chair of the board of governors of Okanagan College through an exciting time of enrolment growth, facilities expansion and implementation of a new strategic plan,” said Denesiuk.
Denesiuk has had a variety of experiences with leadership and governance, including with the family business, that she feels place a part in making her a positive candidate.
“I’ve experienced a lot of challenges over the years, and I think I am more equipped to resolve difficulties,” said Denesiuk. “Wisdom has come with that experience.”
That wisdom and experience, she said, will help shape decisions that are made in Ottawa in a positive way
“My values are Liberal values. I believe that our diversity is one of our strengths in Canada and that we have a shared responsibility to those most vulnerable amongst us. I believe in continuing to invest in the future of Canada through strategic support for infrastructure, housing, education, jobs training and environmental protection,” said Denesiuk. “As a business owner for 37 years, I understand the importance of targeted reinvestment in Canada’s valuable assets. That strategy is working for Canadians, and there is more to be done.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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