Kootenay East chooses Blissett

Norma Blissett gets 94 votes to Randal Macnair's 13 at Cranbrook convention.

Norma Blissett

The local NDP have chosen their candidate to carry the party flag into the May, 2013, provincial election.

The Kootenay East Constituency Association held its nomination convention on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Manual Training School hall in Cranbrook. Norma Blissett of Cranbrook and Randall Macnair of Fernie were the two candidates seeking the nomination.

And after the votes were tallied, Blissett came out on top — 94 votes to 13 (one spoiled ballot).

Blissett will now contest the British Columbia general election — the province’s 40th — on May 14th, 2013, with Bill Bennett. Bennett is the three-term MLA representing the B.C. Liberals.

Blissett said the focus of the upcoming NDP campaign is the NDP message to voters.

“What we’re going to be doing is reaching out to the constituents who live here — we’re going to be spreading our message of positive change on the doorsteps, at public events and in the media,” she said.

Blissett is a forester and a teacher and has lived in Cranbrook for the past 17 years. She is currently teaching science and math at Mt. Baker Secondary School.

She faced off for the nomination against Randal Macnair, a former mayor of Fernie and current Fernie City Councillor.

“We’d done a lot of work as far as reaching out to members,” Blissett said of the nomination campaign. “I phoned everyone, sent out brochures, I met with a number of people I didn’t know before, so I was fairly confident coming in. But you never known, right?”

Blissett has been polically active at the local level in Cranbrook, and will now be moving into the provincial sphere, a transition she’s prepared for.

“With my background in forestry and education, those are both provincial concerns,” she said. “I’ve worked for provincial government in Ontario. I am aware of those issues and the impact they have at the municipal level.

“It’s exciting — I’ve been to the provincial convention, I’ve met with a number of the MLAs, so I feel pretty confident about being able to represent the people here at the provincial level.”

Blissett told those assembled Saturday that the NDP’s task was now to increase the party profile locally . “So now it starts. We’ve got a big task ahead of us. (The upcoming campaign is) about coming together and working together as a party.”

She also thanked Macnair for his efforts.