Former Telkwa Mayor Sharon Hartwell entered the fray to become the Stikine riding’s representative in the provincial legislature for the Liberal party.
Born and raised in the Bulkley Valley, Hartwell grew up on a farm near Quick before her family moved into Telkwa in the 1960s.
Over the years, she has held various jobs, from restaurant owner and baker to a position with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Currently, she is employed with Central Mountain Air.
No stranger to public life, Hartwell was a Village of Telkwa councillor for more than five years before being elected to the Mayor’s chair, a position she held for 12 years.
While representing Telkwa, Hartwell was also elected to the boards of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and sat as the chair of the Northwest Regional Hospital District.
These positions gave her a unique perspective on the challenges faced by smaller, rural communities across the country, she said.
While admitting that the Liberal party and leader Christy Clark have had some major missteps in the lead up to the provincial election, Hartwell said she prefers to focus on the issues that matter to people in the region: the economy, the environment, health care and affordable recreation.
“For me, this isn’t about politics, it’s about the people of Stikine,” she said.
“Playing politics is not helping the people that need it today.
“It’s not helping people get back to work or grow business or grow the economy.
Right now, as I see it, there are nothing but opportunities for the region.”
Hartwell said she believes the region is well positioned to take advantage of the economic opportunities that are arising but is against forcing through development at all cost.
There needs to be a balance, she said.
“The northwest of B.C. is going to be the breadbasket of the province,” she said.
“How are we going to manage that moving forward?
“It has to be a focused, managed approach and that does not mean development at any cost.”
As of the press deadline on March 18, only incumbent NDP MLA Doug Donaldson had declared his intentions to run in the provincial election, tentatively set for May 14.
For more about Sharon Hartwell, go to www.sharonhartwell.ca.