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Candidates line up support as Chilliwack NDP nomination draws near

Neither candidate vying for the NDP nomination in the Chilliwack riding Saturday will be able to cast the traditional ballot for themselves — because neither lives in the riding.

But Dennis Adamson and Patti MacAhonic both feel riding residency won’t be an issue among party members voting at the Jan. 19 nomination meeting in Chilliwack.

“I don’t think it’s really an issue,” Adamson said, during a break in his door-knocking campaign Friday.

Adamson is the Yale area director at the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“I believe I’m a Chilliwackian,” MacAhonic said, because even though she lives outside the riding in the Chilliwack River Valley she has worked in Chilliwack as the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and “all my mail has a Chilliwack address.”

“I think I’m pretty well known,” she said.

NDP electoral fortunes in the traditionally conservative Chilliwack riding seem brighter since MLA Gwen O’Mahony broke the BC Liberal hold on the Chilliwack-Hope riding in an April byelection called after MLA Barry Penner quit politics.

And then the Chilliwack riding opened up to a possible NDP win when MLA John Les announced he would not run for re-election.

According to one poll last month, if the election had been held Nov. 30 the NDP would get 48.5 per cent of the popular vote with the BC Liberals trailing at 33.1 per cent and the BC Conservatives with 10.5 per cent.

Adamson said although he lives outside the riding he lived in Chilliwack for seven years and he’s been dealing with Chilliwack issues during his four years at the FVRD board where he also gained “hands-on” government experience and “an overview (of the issues) in the whole valley.”

He said he’s also lowered taxes while increasing services in the Yale area, and he wants to do the same for the people in the Chilliwack riding.

“I listen to what people want, and I fight to get it done,” he said.

MacAhonic said she has proven leadership experience in business, environmental and social fields as executive director of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, former executive director of the BC Wildlife Federation and former executive director at the BC Brain Injury Association.

She was also a key player in cooling down hostilities between sport and aboriginal fishermen on the Fraser River after a Sto:lo chief was shot while net fishing in 2010.

MacAhonic has also garnered some high-profile endorsements from former BC NDP Leader Carole James, NDP Environment Critic MLA Rob Fleming and local NDP stalwarts Rollie Keith and Jean Scott.

Adamson also has endorsements former BC NDP President Sav Dhaliwal and NDP Critic for Aboriginal Affairs MLA Scott Fraser.

Voter registration for the nomination contest starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Corbould Street.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

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