Kitimat-born Amanda Ramsay says growing up in towns across northern B.C. has prepared her to take over the reins from outgoing New Democrat Party Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen.
Ramsay, the daughter of an ironworker, said as her father followed the work and the family moved from one town to another, from Prince Rupert, New Aiyansh and Kitkatla, to Fort St. John, Prince George and Whitehorse.
“My father was an ironworker doing rebar – we’d often return to the communities where he’d do structural steel,” Ramsay explains of her youth.
“So in each of those communities, I had to learn very quickly to gain an intrinsic awareness of their systems.”
Ramsay said her experiences see her bringing a wealth of life experience to her quest to be the NDP’s candidate for the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding in this October’s federal election.
Each town, she said, has its own character and personality, giving her an insight into the vast riding and to the north in general.
“It wasn’t such a bad life,” Ramsay added of the experience she gained.
Still, there were challenges at one school, resulting in bullying and trauma. Ramsay added, however, that she “never threw the first punch.”
Now living in Terrace, Ramsay, 34, a published author, also spent time in the national navy cadet organization, following in the footsteps of her older brother.
“That really helped give me the tools I needed. It was a big motivation,” said Ramsay of acquiring self-discipline and self-organization.
Ramsay’s accomplishments as a cadet included being chosen to travel to Great Britain where she met Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, being awarded the Duke of Edinburgh’s silver medal and being the first female cadet and first cadet from northern B.C. to receive the Navy League Medal of Excellence.
She also learned to box and gained an orange belt in a Korean martial art.
“I’m still very good at it, but still more of a boxer,” she adds.
Her post-secondary education includes a Class 4 power engineer’s ticket and courses taken at several University of Northern B.C. campuses.
She backs Bill C-48, the federal bill that would ban oil tanker traffic from north coast waters and views liquefied natural gas as a transition fuel toward renewable forms of energy production.
“But let’s do it the best possible way. We need to make sure companies are responsible for what they say and what they do,” Ramsay said.
She indicated her intent to fill Cullen’s position following his announcement on March 1 that he was capping a political career, which dates back to his first election to the job of Member of Parliament for the riding in 2004.
Ramsay faces three challengers — Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach, Smithers town councillor Greg Brown and Annita McPhee, a former president of the Tahltan Central Government.
Should she be successful in her candidacy bid and in this fall’s election, Ramsay will be the second member of her family to pursue a political career — her brother Evan is a first-term City of Terrace council member, having been elected last fall.
NDP members meet May 25 at the Thornhill Community Centre to choose their candidate.