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NDP nomination race may get crowded in Chilliwack

Dennis Adamson will be running for nomination as the NDP candidate in the Chilliwack riding in the 2013 provincial election. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Dennis Adamson will be running for nomination as the NDP candidate in the Chilliwack riding in the 2013 provincial election.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Dennis Adamson, Yale area director at the Fraser Valley Regional District, made if official Friday - he's running for the NDP nomination in Chilliwack.

He's the first out of the starting gate in the race for the NDP nomination in what is reportedly a wide-open field.

Several females are reportedly considering a bid for the nomination — this in a small-c conservative riding where once the party had trouble scaring up a single candidate.

Now the riding appears up for grabs after long-time BC Liberal MLA John Les announced he will not to run for re-election in the May 14, 2013 provincial election.

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O'Mahony, who broke the conservative hold on that riding by winning a byelection in April after Barry Penner left politics, said she has "no doubt" more candidates will emerge for the NDP nomination in the Chilliwack riding.

"It came as no surprise to me," she said, that Les and several other BC Liberal MLAs, including Randy Hawes in nearby Abbotsford-Mission, aren't running for re-election.

"There's no interest in running for the BC Liberals," she said, as the party is "falling apart" with an election just nine months away.

"The opposite is true for us," she said. "No doubt the Chilliwack riding is going to be contested."

Hawes, who told The Progress he planned to announce his decision not to run at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Abbotsford this week, said he disagreed with the whole Liberal MLAs "deserting a sinking ship" scenario.

He insisted "no more than usual" MLAs are announcing they won't run for re-election, and "all the fresh faces" seen in the BC Liberal caucus after the 2009 election "are the people who are replacing the MLAs" leaving cabinet positions now.

Les also said he was "confident" the BC Liberals could win the Chilliwack riding and take back the Chilliwack-Hope riding from the NDP.

Adamson agreed Les's departure might bring more people into the NDP nomination race on the expectation of a better chance of winning the riding, if elected as candidate, with Les gone.

But Adamson said challenging Les, based on his long political record, rather than a new BC Liberal candidate with a clean slate, might have been easier.

"I wanted that kind of fight, an unknown might be harder," he said. "But it's six of one and half-dozen of the other."

Adamson said he was a-political until he was elected to the FVRD board, and now he wants to move up to provincial politics.

"You have to get to the provincial level to effect some change," he said.

He doesn't believe living outside the Chilliwack riding will hurt him politically, and may be an asset giving him a "broader perspective" on local issues.

"I'm very familiar with the issues in Chilliwack, being on the (FVRD) board for four years," he said.

Adamson sees himself as a natural-born "problem solver" with a "fearless" and "blunt" approach to getting at common-sense solutions.

"I consider myself fearless," he said. "I'm a problem solver. I immediately want to solve a problem, even if it has nothing to do with me. I just want to solve it."

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