Outgoing Rendezvous Queen Shirley Chua-Tan is seeking votes once again – this time to become the NDP candidate for Riverdale North.
Chua-Tan said her time as Rendezvous Queen has shown her that she needs to “step up to the plate” to help the people around her.
“As a wife, working mother, volunteer and immigrant, I understand the real struggle of anyone who’s trying to put food on the table, a roof over the top and education for their children,” she said during her campaign announcement on Wednesday.
She said she wants to focus on diversifying Yukon’s economy, particularly through tourism, mining, education and immigration.
“I want to work with Yukoners to be creative, competitive and resourceful,” she said. “I believe I have the people skills to do the job. I want to be a voice for the Yukon.”
Chua-Tan was born in Singapore, where she worked as a medical technician before switching to a career in sales and marketing.
She moved to Canada in 2000 and to Whitehorse in 2010. Here, she works as a realtor and has been active with various non-profits, including Autism Yukon, the Yukon Council on Disability and Teegatha’Oh Zheh, which provides support to people with developmental disabilities.
In 2015, she told the CBC she was inspired to run for Rendezvous Queen by her adult son, who has autism. She said she wanted to use the title to do more for youth with special needs.
During her announcement this week, she criticized the Yukon government for cutting funding to non-profits like the Yukon Council on Disability, which closed last year.
“Many individuals and families are losing hope,” she said. “I want to do something about this situation.”
Chua-Tan said she chose to run in Riverdale North because the population is diverse -“a bag of everything,” she called it. However, she currently lives in Takhini-Kopper King, a riding held by NDP MLA Kate White. White announced last week that she plans to run for re-election.
Riverdale North is currently held by Energy, Mines and Resource Minister Scott Kent, who won the 2011 election with 37 per cent of the vote.
Chua-Tan is the NDP’s second new candidate to announce a nomination bid. Last week, former principal Pat Berrel announced he would be seeking the nomination for Porter Creek Centre. Riverdale South MLA Jan Stick has also announced she will be seeking re-election.
Chua-Tan said she expects her nomination bid to be contested by another potential NDP candidate.
Contact Maura Forrest at