NANAIMO — The BC Liberals have chosen a well-known Nanaimo name to represent them in the upcoming provincial byelection.
Tony Harris was endorsed as the candidate during a party event Wednesday morning. He'll contend in the pending byelection to fill the MLA position, which will soon be vacated by mayor Leonard Krog.
Harris, 35, said he's chasing the local MLA position since the city has been ignored in Victoria for too long.
“Nanaimo has never realized it's full potential and that's because for years and years we've sent the same party to Victoria with the same results. They haven't gotten the Nanaimo it deserves and Nanaimo has been taken for granted.”
Harris took aim at tax policies of the current NDP provincial government and listed ensuring a Nanaimo to Vancouver foot ferry, tackling homelessness and child poverty as priorities.
Harris' resume includes a family automobile business, real estate development, and he's currently a board member of the Nanaimo Regional Hospital Foundation. He said his business and charity endevours gave him a strong reason to advocate for Nanaimo.
“I understand both sides and what I don't understand I'm prepared to learn. I want to learn and I want to get to know more people in Nanaimo and serve the greater good,” Harris, who's married with two children and a third on the way, said.
Party leader Andrew Wilkinson introduced Harris in front of a large crowd of Liberal supporters at a Boxwood Rd. business.
He said the party asked around to see who would be a great fit to represent the thriving Nanaimo area and “The name that came up repeatedly was Tony Harris.”
A statement from the BC Liberal Party to NanaimoNewsNOW said their local riding associaiton in Nanaimo will go ahead with a formalized nomination process to select a candidate. "He (Tony Harris) has the full support of the riding association, the leader and the party's election readiness committee," the statement said.
It's unclear when a byelection for the Nanaimo riding will take place. Premier John Horgan said during the recent announcement of Sheila Malcolmson's intention to run in the riding that Nanaimo will have a sitting MLA in time for February budget discussions.
A Liberal victory in the pending byelection would set the party up to topple the razor-thin NDP-Green Party coalition government.
The provincial Nanaimo riding has been a longstanding NDP stronghold for decades.
The seat was been held by Leonard Krog since 2005, who's vacating the position to take the role of Nanaimo's mayor.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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