Renewable energy advocate Sally Wright is seeking the NDP nomination for Kluane during this year’s territorial election.
Wright said she decided to make her first foray into politics after reviewing Yukon NDP policy and realizing she agreed with “almost all of it.”
“I read their policies and I can stand behind them,” she said, citing the party’s support for “equality, democracy, sustainability, community and cooperation.”
Wright said the Yukon government needs to do more to get people off of fossil fuels.
“I am very interested in renewable energy and how it can be used as a tool for economic development for small communities,” she said.
She believes that Alaska and the other territories are doing more to promote renewable energy, and the Yukon needs to do better.
Wright lives in a solar-powered, off-grid home heated by a wood stove, and she believes more Yukoners could do the same.
She also said the government could do more to reduce fossil-fuel emissions from transportation. She’s currently unable to afford an electric car, she said, even though her solar panels produce enough electricity to charge one.
“If we had the right government policies in place that would help us electrify our transportation, it would make a huge, huge change in the very fabric of our societies.”
Wright is a longtime member of the Yukon Conservation Society, and has been a vocal opponent of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the territory.
She said she doesn’t think there’s any place for an oil and gas industry in the Yukon. But she does believe there’s room for “responsible mining,” provided it doesn’t damage the environment. She also believes there needs to be a review of how much the Yukon collects in royalty payments from mining companies.
Still, Wright said she wouldn’t just be a one-issue candidate.
She said she’s also concerned for elders in her riding who want to age in place.
“I think we need to take care of our elders and keep them as close to where they want to be … as long as possible,” she said.
Wright hitchhiked to the Yukon when she was 20 years old. In 1985, she got a job as a dishwasher and a research assistant at the Kluane Lake Research Station, and later built her house at the south end of Kluane Lake.
She now works as a writer, artist and filmmaker.
Wright said it will be important for her to get out and hear from the residents of her riding.
“I’m going to go see everyone,” she said. “I can’t wait.”
Kluane is currently represented by Environment Minister Wade Istchenko. The riding was previously held by longtime MLA Gary McRobb between 1996 and 2011, first for the NDP and later for the Liberals.
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