There are 36 candidates running for eight seats on the Kelowna City Council November 15.
While there may be more such, BCCN has been able to identify two of the newcomer candidates as people who bring a faith perspective to what they try to do in community service.
Also, one of the 10 people running for the Kelowna seats on the School District #23 board of trustees, brings a similar perspective.
In briefly profiling these three people, we note that our objective is not to suggest that a religious faith, Christian or otherwise, makes a person a better politician. Rather, we simply want to let readers know that, for these candidates, at least, faith defines part of who they are and how they fit into the larger community.
A Central Okanagan resident since the 1980s, Luke Stack is running for Kelowna City Council. He is likely best known for his work in affordable housing development through the Society of Hope (SOH), a non-profit charitable group.
Stack believes he can bring a fair amount of experience and thinking to affordable housing and homeless issues, which rank high in the city’s community concerns.
He has been on Kelowna’s advisory planning commission in recent years, and says he “loves the work – the real estate and development aspects and dealing with what is coming down the pike.”
An advocate of high density, particularly in the community’s four town centres, he also wants to focus on transportation, quality of life and water issues.
SOH (www.societyofhope.org) has provided 345 housing units to date, since the 80s, in short term, family and seniors categories.
The passage in the book of James, in the Bible, which SOH takes as its raison d’etre, defines “true religion” as assisting vulnerable people. SOH focuses much of its effort on single parent families.
Stack and his family are part of Willow Park Church.
Janice Henry is best known for her 11 years of service as executive director of the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) and, more recently, filling the same role for the Central Okanagan Heritage Society (COHS).
In her foundation post, she played a pivotal role after the 2003 wildfires, in administering the COF fire fund.
Those fires destroyed more than 200 homes and large tracts of park land.
In her statement explaining her reasons for running for city council, Henry notes: “I have considerable experience in ‘collective leadership,’ a process that facilitates participation, strives to understand divergent points of view and draws upon the collective wisdom of the group.
“The City of Kelowna continues to face a number of issues and pressures. Our community is changing — some for the better and some not. It is the role of council to help navigate these sometimes complex and divisive issues.”
In her work with COHS, Henry is responsible for administering the Benvoulin Heritage Church and Reid Hall.
The church was acquired by the society after it fell into disuse as a United Church, and was restored — complete with old oak circular pews and a pump organ. It is now used as a conference, meeting and event centre — and is a favourite site for weddings.
The Henry family is a part of Evangel Church.
Theresa McRae White
Well known in the community as a journalist, freelance writer and, more recently, as executive director of the Okanagan Pregnancy Care Centre, Theresa McRae White feels it is “give back” time. She is running for one of the four vacancies on the School District #23 board of trustees.
She and husband Lorne, also a journalist, have five children and nine grandchildren, all of whom were educated in District 23 schools.
She says: “I am running to offer my personal best service, now that the children have gone through the system.
“They received so much, and had such good experiences. Many wonderful people invested in our children’s lives. They went through the French immersion, sports, music and drama programs, all of which enriched their lives.”
White refers especially to one daughter, Tara, who was greatly encouraged by a math teacher — and who is now a teacher in Victoria.
Theresa and Lorne are part of Willow Park Church.
Statements from all candidates can be found at www.city.kelowna.bc.ca, on the 2008 election page.