A long-time Chilliwack resident and youth advocate was chosen on Saturday to be the federal Liberal Party candidate for Chilliwack-Hope.
Kelly Velonis was chosen by acclamation at a meeting of the Federal Liberal Chilliwack-Hope Riding Association.
Velonis had one other stab at elected office when she ran for the Chilliwack school board in the October 2018 municipal election. (Her last name was Janveaux at the time.)
She was one of only four out of 17 school board candidates endorsed by the Fraser Valley Labour Council in that election. She finished 10th in the race for the seven school boards seats.
Velonis has been a resident since the age of nine, according to a press release posted on the Kelly Velonis for Chilliwack-Hope Facebook page.
“She is a passionate advocate for youth and seniors and has channeled that passion to empower and enrich the lives of children, families and seniors,” the release stated.
Velonis has worked managing programs for at-risk youth for YMCA of Greater Vancouver. Most recently, she has worked as the executive director for the Chilliwack & District Seniors Resource Society.
She is a member of Rotary and is involved with various volunteer organizations.
“In addition to demanding personal and professional responsibilities, she balances her most important role as a wife and mother,” according to her press release. “She is an advocate for change and known for her bold and courageous determination in support of diversity, inclusion and building strong communities that work for all.”
Velonis steps forward for the local Liberal Party following Louis De Jaeger who ran in Chilliwack-Hope in 2015 garnering 17,114 votes (33.8 per cent), coming second to the Conservative’s Mark Strahl’s 21,445 votes (42.3 per cent).
De Jaeger carried on and served as the vice-president of the Chilliwack-Hope riding association, but in April of this year he resigned in support of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott.
De Jaeger went on to run in the same municipal election as Velonis, but for city council. He also did not win a seat.
The announcement of Velonis puts the confirmed field in Chilliwack-Hope in the federal election scheduled for Oct. 21 at four.
Incumbent MP Mark Strahl announced in the spring he would seek re-election in 2019. Then on April 27, local members of the upstart People’s Party of Canada chose high school social studies teacher Robert Bogunovic.
A month later, Arther Green announced he was the candidate for the Green Party of Canada in Chilliwack-Hope.
The local NDP has not yet chosen a candidate.