BC NDP candidate for Chilliwack-Kent steps it up for election time
With the election on the horizon The Observer had the chance to sit down with the BC NDP Candidate for Chilliwack-Kent Patti MacAhonic to discuss her campaign as well as the initiatives she plans to bring to the table if she’s elected to office.
MacAhonic is direct, down to earth, sincere, unapologetic and well recognized in the Fraser Valley for her many contributions to the community over the years.
Currently, she heads the Ann Davis Transition Society in Chilliwack as its executive director, and it’s clear that she cares about the welfare of people.
Ann Davis has served well over 3,300 of the most vulnerable women, men, children youth and families in 2016 alone, and MacAhonic has been on board to lead a team of professionals to help establish a violence free community, which is no small task, according to the NDP candidate.
MacAhonic is recovering from of an injury and going strong after shattering her knee. She’s good hearted about it as she jokes of getting around on cement at the Women’s Show in Chilliwack.
“I’m running for office because I really thought by this time in my life things would be better for families, for seniors, and they’re worse than they’ve been in a long long time,” she said.
MacAhonic was widowed in her late twenties with three children, and she told her kids to hang in there, and that things would get better, and they haven’t gotten better for families she says, citing unaffordable housing, as one of the many problems people are faced with in today’s economy.
“Fifty per cent of people are one paycheque away from being homeless — that’s a reality, that people just can’t make it,” she said.
Running for MLA, is a lot of work, and as the NDP, running against the BC Liberals, and the current standing MLA for Chilliwack-Hope Laurie Throness, is a lot like David and Goliath, according to MacAhonic, and partially why she’s stood up, deciding to run despite the odds.
“It’s a challenge because we don’t have the money and it’s a daunting task so what needs to happen is that people need to come out and stand up for their values, stand up for their families, stand up for seniors, stand up for affordability, stand up for sustainable jobs, stand up for making long term decisions that are going to be sustainable and not deplete our natural resources and environment and carry the NDP and myself to victory — it’s going to take people stepping up out of their comfort zones,” she said.
MacAhonic has arrived on the scene to tell people that it can be done, and that she’s willing to take it, and the BC Liberals head on.
She also boasts an enviable list of credentials and awards. MacAhonic holds an MBA in Executive Management and has taken on roles in Health and Safety in BC logging, forestry and mining industries and has held a series of leadership roles that have never been given to a woman before. She rides a Harley and even has a skippers license. MacAhonic was recognized with the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from UVF for her work in the community. The award honours those “whose ideas, passion, leadership and achievements have helped shape UFV and the community at large.”
“I’m passionate about it all and I have a strong sense of social justice,” she says.
MacAhonic lobbied to pass B.C.’s Bill C-37 in 2003, concerning the rights of children and survivors of workplace fatalities, an effort that was sparked from the death of her late husband who died as a result of an industrial accident.
MacAhonic considers herself a leader and a strong one.
“I’m hands on, and I’ve always been at the forefront getting things done,” she said. “Our community needs strong leadership, and I’m not afraid to wade in and deal with those difficult situations, work collaboratively and listen to everybody and then you can come to solutions that are in everyone’s best interest, solutions that everyone can live with.”
MacAhonic makes it clear that she is running for a better future and the fight is worth the effort.
“I’m running for my kids and my grandkids, I want them to have hope for the future and to have hope that they can buy a home — I want them to be able to go on a yearly vacation, I want them to be able to feed their kids and pay their hydro — we’ve got a strong platform, and we will work everyday for it.”