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Individuals seeking NDP nomination revealed

Joanna Larson, left, and Jennifer Rice, right, are both seeking NDP nomination.  - Contributed photos
Joanna Larson, left, and Jennifer Rice, right, are both seeking NDP nomination.
— image credit: Contributed photos

Joanna Larson and Jennifer Rice recently announced their intentions to run for the New Democrat Party nomination in the north coast riding to replace current MLA Gary Coons, who is not seeking re-election next year.

"I think either [Larson or Rice] would be a perfect candidate to run. They both have strengths," David Smith, president of the north coast constituency, said.

Larson was first to announce she would be running on Nov. 20 and said she would be a suitable replacement for Coons because of her broad experience in local and provincial issues.

Larson has been a teacher for 20 years, and is on her fourth term as local president of the Prince Rupert Teachers' Union. Additionally, she was previously the president of the Westview Childcare Centre Society.

She is also no stranger to provincial politics, currently working on her second term with the BC Teachers' Federation executive committee.

Although Larson would have to step down from these positions if she was elected, she said she is committed to the NDP.

"I've been a member of the NDP since 2004, and have been actively involved in campaigning for both Gary Coons and Nathan Cullen over that time frame," she said.

If elected, Larson will continue to work on public education and childcare, as well as working to end poverty in the province.

"Greater equality is key to improving B.C. and making it a better province for everyone," she said.

Rice, her competition for the nomination, also said she will address B.C.'s poverty problem.

"People these days are working more, working longer, and all for a lot less take home pay to make ends meet," said Rice, who announced she would run for nomination on Nov. 21.

The two also say they will focus on protecting the environment from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. Rice and Larson organized the anti-Enbridge rally held in Prince Rupert last month.

"I feel I have demonstrated my commitment to not only Prince Rupert through my work in the community, but as an advocate in protecting the coast and Haida Gwaii from Enbridge’s oil tanker plans,” Rice said.

Rice is currently serving her first term as a Prince Rupert city councillor, and works for the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation which aims to preserve fish stocks.

If Rice is selected to be MLA she won't be forced to step down from city council, however it isn't recommended to do both at the same time. She would have to resign at the Environmental Foundation.

In the past, Rice was chair of Friends of Wild Salmon, a provincial coalition that protects wild salmon.

If elected, some of the areas she will focus includes how the province manages its natural resources and looking into a new funding formula that helps pay for infrastructure.

"My approach to any area in government is to view issues through a sustainability lens. Asking what's needed now but what is also needed for the future," said Rice, who has also been a member of the NDP since 2004.

Although there are currently two individuals seeking nomination, other potential candidates have until Nov. 30 to inform the provincial party and the local constituency of their intentions to run.

The nomination convention will take place Jan. 26, 2013.

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