There are some huge issues that matter to each and every one of us. Issues like health care, housing, education, energy, economy, the environment and infrastructure.
And there is one person who is the “go-to” contact when something within that realm goes wrong. That one person is in charge of speaking up for you, whether you need someone to listen to your health woes, provide assistance to your struggling business or address a lack of proper public transit.
And that person is your friendly, hard-working MLA — for which applications are currently being reviewed. The by-election on April 19 will solidify the role until the next general election in 2013.
More than just a talking head, elected MLAs are expected to liaise with those in their community, and know the issues at hand.
For example, ditches in Agassiz are overflowing? We should look for a representative willing to pull on a pair of rubber boots and have a close up look.
Businesses up the Fraser Canyon are struggling? Then we should be looking for a representative willing to speak up for entrepreneurs, help boost tourism and support creative ideas.
Keeping tabs on all points within this riding is a big job, previously filled by Barry Penner, and most recently being covered by neighbouring Chilliwack MLA John Les. While the riding’s size is not as daunting as those seen in Northern B.C., it’s still a large area.
Regardless of party affiliation — because we know that can change in the blink of an eye — we need a determined leader willing to negotiate the best possible solutions on our behalf.
It’s a powerful role, being an MLA.
But nothing is as powerful as the people who elect them, and nothing drives change as much as speaking to your elected officials about the issues that need dealing with. This riding historically has high voter turnout, and all the by-election candidates are paying equal attention to that loud, collective voice.
For the next few weeks, you can bet they’ll be putty in your hands.
And that’s an opportunity that shouldn’t go to waste.