Tamara Goeppel plans to seek the Liberal nomination for the next Yukon territorial election.
She made the announcement alongside Liberal Leader Sandy Silver on Thursday morning.
Goeppel said she was inspired to run because of what she sees as a growing division between the territorial and First Nations governments.
“I’m feeling that our community’s being torn apart by the Yukon Party government that is disrespectful of the First Nations,” she said. “And if we continue down this path, we will have yet another rift in our community, which will take a generation or two to heal. And I want to stop that.”
She also accused the Yukon Party of “eroding the private sector without any compassion.”
Goeppel has been a vocal critic of the government’s planned continuing-care centre in Whistle Bend. In July, she went public with the results of an access-to-information request showing that the location was chosen despite a high-ranking health official’s warning that building the facility in the sparsely occupied Whistle Bend neighbourhood would be a “nightmare.”
“It was very blatant, very clear that this was a political decision,” Goeppel said. “All of the professional advice was simply ignored and the needs of the people were ignored. And I think that needs to change.”
Goeppel was born and raised in Whitehorse. She worked as a labourer on placer mining claims in her teens, and later managed a small travel agency.
More recently, she has served as an employer representative on the Yukon Worker’s Compensation Health and Safety Board, and was appointed to the Yukon Hospital Corporation’s board of trustees.
She has also been involved with the mining industry as a liaison between local operations and outside interests.
Goeppel is also an accomplished athlete. She has competed as a mountain biker across Europe and Latin America, and she has won the 19-kilometre Skagway Hill Climb multiple times.
And this is not her first foray into political life.
Goeppel campaigned against Larry Bagnell for the federal Liberal nomination last summer. She announced her candidacy in July, months after Bagnell had entered the race. Though her campaign was unsuccessful, she said she learned several lessons from the experience.
“One of them is don’t start a race late. And don’t announce two weeks before hunting season.”
This time around, she’ll be in the company of John Streicker and Rod Taylor, who announced in July that they will be seeking nominations.
And Silver said more announcements are coming.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest. And of course the federal election helped out a lot as well.”
The party’s annual general meeting is slated for mid-January. Silver said ridings will be discussed then.
The Yukon government must call an election for October 2016 at the latest. Silver said his party will be ready for an early election, but he expects the Yukon Party will use its full term.
“Currently their plan is to try to buy an election. They’re going to definitely need that time this summer for all of their capital projects.”
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