Spring Hawes seeks local NDP nod
Former District of Invermere Councillor Spring Hawes is seeking the nomination to run as New Democratic Party candidate in the provincial riding of Columbia River – Revelstoke.
As a longtime resident, local business owner, two-term town councillor and active volunteer, Hawes said she has the experience, passion and a strong commitment to the region needed for the role of MLA.
“I have had significant personal challenges, but that hasn’t limited me,” said Hawes. “Serving my community is my passion. The opportunity to represent our region at the provincial level is an honour, and my experience in local government and as a local entrepreneur has given me the skills and understanding of what it takes to get the job done.”
In 2005, Hawes was in a mountain biking accident that left her quadriplegic, but that hasn’t slowed her down. After rehabilitation and learning to live a new way, she has become a powerful advocate for accessibility and inclusion.
“After more than a decade of neglect under the BC Liberals, our public education, healthcare and our natural environment need to be top priority,” Hawes said. “I share those local values and the vision that we deserve a government committed to serving our communities. I plan to be an MLA who will consistently bring our voice to Victoria.”
Hawes last week provided a take on why she is seeking to serve in the provincial government, after stepping away from municipal politics in 2014.
“That ‘time-out’ has also given me the chance to reflect on my skills and strengths, and what I feel passionate about. It turns out, I feel passionate about our future here in our region, and in our country. I dream of a government that sees its role as providing the structures to support all people in their quest to succeed and thrive. I have a vision for the vibrant future our region will have.
“My two terms in local government in Invermere provided me with excellent experience, and an understanding of the way government works. During those terms I worked hard to represent the interests of the broader community. I brought their challenges and concerns to the council table at every opportunity, even though it made me unpopular with my colleagues on council at times. In my second election, I received the highest number of votes of any candidate for council. When I chose not to run again, many people approached me personally to express their thanks, and disappointment that I wasn’t running again.
“I’m very concerned with community sustainability. Some years back, I participated in discussions around the NDP’s sustainability strategy, which I found to be very useful and informative. While on council, I enjoyed chairing the implementation committee for Invermere’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. We built a good team, and did some great work. I was also involved in the process of aligning our Official Community Plan with the ICSP. Just this spring, I was a member of the group that planned and hosted the Slow Food Canada Summit 2016 here in Invermere. I see incredible benefit in having a strong local food system in our region, environmentally, economically and socially.
“I am a strong supporter of a broad-based local economy. I’ve owned small businesses for more than 20 years, and that has given me an appreciation for the important role business plays, not only as employers, but also as generous supporters of so many community efforts and events. I see our region continuing to build a thriving, stable economy by broadening our understanding of sustainable economic development, maximizing the opportunities we already have, providing the infrastructure our residents need to thrive, and protecting our natural resources, as they will become invaluable in the future,” Hawes stated.
“As an advocate for equality and inclusion, I have spoken out for the disadvantaged, for persons with disabilities, and for women’s rights. I am proud to have been a part of the work that’s been done to improve accessibility in Invermere and the surrounding area. I chaired A.C.E. (Access in the Community for Everyone) for seven years and have been involved with the East Kootenay Humanity Network since its start in 2011. My own life experience with physical injury and disability provides a profound appreciation for the barriers many face in their day-to-day lives,” she said.
“I have a strong environmental ethic. Every day, I am astonished at the beauty of our mountains and valleys, lakes and rivers. Our natural heritage is a great resource, which will only increase in value as the world’s wild places diminish. I’ve appreciated MLA Norm MacDonald’s work to protect our watersheds, wetlands and forests for the benefit of future generations. With that in mind, I have opposed Jumbo Glacier Resort at every opportunity, even taking part in marches and demonstrations from time to time. While on council, I supported environmental initiatives such as boundary containment, community gardens and our community greenhouse, and Pesticide-Free Invermere. I do my best to practice environmental responsibility in my personal life.
“In all of my work, I have placed high value on honesty, integrity, and openness. I believe in collaboration and consensus building, and in respect for others, regardless of their political persuasion. People find me approachable and sincere. The core values of the New Democratic Party are in alignment with my own; our people deserve clean air and water, access to education, first-rate healthcare, opportunities for well paying jobs, homes they can afford, and a social safety net if they need it. Above all, people deserve a government committed to serving them. I have a positive, hopeful outlook on our future, our region, and our valley. I am not afraid to be heard, and I don’t back away from a challenge. I can be the effective representative for our region,” Hawes said.
MLA Macdonald recently announced he will be retiring from politics. He leaves a legacy of exceptional work on behalf of the region, including the drive to keep Jumbo wild, Hawes said.
“After 12 years of excellent work, he is ready for a change. In discussions around his stepping back, my name came up as a potential candidate to be the next NDP nominee in our riding. Some months ago I was asked to consider that idea, and after much careful thought, I have agreed. I think it will be an interesting and engaging nomination race, and I’m looking forward to a stimulating contest. I’m excited by the possibility to contribute on the provincial level after six years of municipal government,” Hawes explained.
Hawes plans to continue Macdonald’s work and will be starting by meeting with people throughout the region.
She is already generating support.
“I have chosen to support Spring because she is one of the most thoughtful, productive, positive, admirable people I have ever met,” said retired teacher and NDP member Anne Jardine. “She lives her life brilliantly, and she is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. I think her voice is one that is much needed in our legislature.”
Current Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft, who Spring served with on council, is also seeking the NDP nomination for Columbia River-Revelstoke.
Fairmont Hot Springs resident Doug Clovechok will be the BC Liberal candidate in next year’s provincial election.
To stay in touch with Ms. Hawes, people can follow her on Facebook or get in touch with her directly at 250-688-0271 or [email protected].