Tofino mayor Josie Osborne has announced she will seek the B.C. NDP nomination for Mid Island-Pacific Rim in the next provincial election.
“I have decided to run for the BC NDP because I have seen the devastating impacts this pandemic has had on our communities and I believe John Horgan is the right person to lead the province during this difficult time,” Osborne said through an announcement made by the B.C. NDP on Tuesday around 1:45 p.m.
“I want to help build a long-term recovery that is sustainable and will make life better for the people in the Central Vancouver Island and all British Columbians…Following the incredible work of Scott Fraser, it’s crucial this work to rebuild our province is done in partnership with First Nation communities.”
Longtime B.C. NDP MLA Scott Fraser announced yesterday that he will not be seeking reelection for the Mid Island-Pacific Rim seat and the party wasted little time finding a potential successor from a familiar source. Prior to entering provincial politics in 2005, Fraser served as mayor of Tofino from 1996 to 1999.
“Scott has been an incredible leader. He has worked so hard for the people in this riding and I really want to build on what he’s been able to do and I want to work to build back better in our riding and in the province,” Osborne told the Westerly News immediately following her nomination announcement.
“There’s no turning around. I am so excited. I feel very good about my decision. I have the support of my husband and my family and so many friends and colleagues, people have already been messaging me like crazy, they’re really excited to hear the news and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”
She said the decision to run for provincial office was not an easy one to make, but she is excited about the opportunity to “scale up” her impact.
“There’s a lot of bitter-sweetness because I have absolutely loved being the mayor of Tofino. It is a privilege and an honour to serve the people here in Tofino and the region and I feel really proud of a lot of the accomplishments that I’ve been a part of,” she said. “I think though, for me, this is a way to even better serve the people of Tofino and the region in a new capacity and I think that working with the B.C. NDP is the best way that I can do that.”
She said she does not plan to immediately step down from her mayor’s seat, but will take an official leave of absence when a provincial election is called.
“That’s the appropriate thing to do,” she said. “Then, we’ll see where the chips fall after an election. If I’m successful in becoming the next MLA, then my intention would be to step down and enable a new leader in Tofino.”
Osborne is currently serving her third term as mayor of Tofino. She ran unopposed in a 2013 byelection and unopposed again in a 2014 general election. She faced two challengers for the mayor’s seat in Tofino’s most recent municipal election in 2018 and earned a decisive 85 per cent of the total votes cast, receiving 792 votes and besting Jarmo Venalainen, 69 votes, and Omar Soliman, 52 votes.
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The next provincial election has not yet been called, but candidates are being announced and Osborne will not be the only council member on the Mid Island-Pacific Rim ballot as, last week, Port Alberni city councillor Helen Poon was announced as the BC Liberal candidate.
In a Tuesday morning Tweet, prior to her announcement, Osborne thanked Fraser for his service and support of the West Coast.
“It’s been a real privilege to work with you and learn from your compassionate, people-centered approach to politics,” she wrote.
Thank you, @scottfraserndp, for years of service to #Tofino, and for all your advocacy and support for this region. It’s been a real privilege to work with you and learn from your compassionate, people-centered approach to politics. https://t.co/OaUYUimAR6— Josie Osborne (@Josie_Osborne) September 15, 2020
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