The operative word is ‘new’ for some Okanagan voters come the next provincial election.
The new Kelowna-Lake Country-Coldstream provincial constituency will offer new boundaries from the previous Kelowna-Lake Country riding outgoing incumbent MLA Norm Letnick represented for 14 years, and will elect a new MLA, possibly from a newly renamed political party.
Adam Wilson will announce Tuesday, 6 p.m., at Lake Country Brewing, 10058 Highway 97 in Lake Country his candidacy to be the BC United candidate for the redistricted riding.
Wilson is first out of the gate to seek the new riding seat, with the next provincial election set for on or before Oct. 19, 2024.
In an interview with Black Press Media, Wilson said wants to be an active participant in creating innovative policies to solve problems that people are facing.
“My desire is to build up our communities, fix our broken health care system, tackle our housing crisis, and address our increased cost of living….” said Wilson.
“Life under the NDP is getting more expensive every day…We need fresh energy and ideas to get results on the issues that matter most.”
Born and raised in Kelowna, Wilson is no stranger to the backrooms of politics.
An urban planner by education having graduated from both McGill University and Ryerson University, working in Ontario he served as the executive director of policy and strategic planning for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Upon his return to the Okanagan, Wilson first worked as a consultant to improve access to primary care in rural and remote communities, then worked with a national non-profit pharmacy organization which led him to work on drug shortage issues and expanding the health care role of pharmacists.
Wilson was also the campaign manager for Mayor Tom Dyas in his successful civic election bid last year.
Away from politics, he is the president of his local Rotary Club and sits on the board of the YeYe Non-Profit Housing Corporation which builds homes for first-tine buyers significantly below market rate costs.
Wilson feels affordable housing, mental health and addiction issues, health care and the cost of living will be front and centre in voters’ minds across the province in the next election.
“For me, my background has involvement both in housing and health care delivery so I want to bring my own unique perspective to those two issues that have a big impact on people’s day to day lives,” he said.
BC United has altered the traditional method of candidates seeking a riding nomination, as Wilson was put through an extensive application process by the party brass before his name could stand for the riding constituency nomination.
Past tradition has seen party constituency associations holding candidate nomination meetings, with the candidates signing up party members and seeking support from existing members to win the nomination.
“Our leader Kevin Falcon has made it clear he wants a diverse slate of candidates representative of our province’s population,” he said of the more tightly controlled nomination process.
“That means younger people, people of different ethnic backgrounds, people of different life experiences.
“We need to have diversity. We don’t want all our elected politicians to look and sound the same.”
At age 28, Wilson would represent the wave of youth Falcon would be looking for in his party caucus, having already been named as one of Kelowna’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2017.
Wilson also has the endorsement of John Baird, who serve as minister of foreign affairs under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper from 2011 to 2015.
“Adam Wilson’s experience in housing, health care and politics will make him an influential and key members of the BC United caucus,” Baird said.
If elected MLA, he says one of his first challenges will be to determine how to effectively represent three distinct communities across the North and Central Okanagan.
“I don’t think a constituency office in Kelowna is going to work for people living in Coldstream so that will have to be looked at,” he said, whether that might be relocating the constituency office in Lake Country or having more than one constituency office in the riding.