Francis van Kessel announced yesterday she wants to be the NDP’s MLA for Porter Creek North.
The riding is currently held by the Yukon Party’s Doug Graham. Van Kessel is the first to express interest in representing the riding for the New Democrats.
Van Kessel, who grew up in Teslin, is currently the manager of the Days Inn hotel in Whitehorse.
If elected she said she’d focus on issues such as food security and affordable housing.
“We grew up just below the poverty line,” she said yesterday, speaking in the parking lot of the Porter Creek Mall.
“Food security was a big issue for our family. If it wasn’t for my family growing its own vegetables, I don’t know what my parents would have done to feed us.”
Van Kessel and her parents moved to Whitehorse when she was 15.
They quickly realized that affordable housing and food were both hard to come by, she said.
As a young adult, van Kessel watched a close friend become addicted to drugs and alcohol. “Because of that, she suffered through the system to find access to proper drug and alcohol healing programs,” she said.
Last fall van Kessel spearheaded a project at the Days Inn where food was grown instead of planting flowers.
The potatoes, carrots, beets, Swiss chard and kale were donated to the Whitehorse food bank.
“I did this, pretty much, because we as people need to change our society and the change comes from within,” she told CBC at the time.
“There’s hungry people in the city of Whitehorse and we need to start fixing that,” she said.
Van Kessel said she is running in the Porter Creek North riding because it’s “near and dear” to her heart.
“It’s a great place to be,” she said.
No date has been set for the next territorial election. Premier Darrell Pasloski must call it by this fall.
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