One of the region’s youngest, and also most experienced local politicians, is running to replace Norm Macdonald as the NDP’s candidate for Columbia River-Revelstoke.
Gerry Taft, the mayor of Invermere, who began his political career when he was elected to council at the age of 20, announced Wednesday, June 1, that he is seeking the NDP nomination.
Macdonald announced he would not be running for a fourth term as MLA last week.
Taft, 34, is in his third term as mayor of Invermere. Before that, he was a councillor for two terms. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Regional District of East Kootenay.
“Although I very much enjoy my current position as Mayor of Invermere and serving on the Regional District of East Kootenay board, I find that many of the most frustrating aspects of my current position involve interactions with and the failings of the current provincial government,” said Taft in a news release. “I think there is a great opportunity to make our province better for every British Columbian, but that will only happen with a change of government.”
In addition to his career in politics, he is the owner of Gerry’s Gelati Cafe, which has locations in Invermere and Radium, and the Stolen Church Coffee Co.
Taft graduated from David Thomson Secondary School in Invermere in 2000. He opened his first business, a hot dog cart, when he was 17, and received a diploma in hotel management from Thompson Rivers University in 2002. Later that year, he ran and won a seat on council. In 2008, he was elected mayor; he’s held the position ever since.
The Columbia River-Revelstoke constituency association is expected to hold a nomination meeting to elect a replacement for Macondald in the fall. The winner of the NDP nomination will go against BC Liberal Doug Clovechok, who is running again after being defeated by Macdonald in 2013.
The news release announcing Taft’s candidacy was sent out by Joy Orr, Macdonald’s long time assistant, indicating he has the backing of part of the local party establishment.
The next provincial election is scheduled for May 9, 2017.