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West Kelowna councillor eyeing move to federal politics
District of West Kelowna Coun. Rick de Jong has announced his candidacy for Conservative nomination in the newly established riding of South Okanagan West Kootenay.
De Jong made the announcement earlier this month at a press conference in Penticton.
"I have been encouraged by a tremendous amount of friends and business associates throughout the South Okanagan to put my name forward," said de Jong.
"They feel that I'm somebody who can make things happen and hit the ground running for them.
"They like my experience, my personality and what I can bring to the table."
The new electoral boundary of South Okanagan West Kootenay includes Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Rossland, Trail and Castlegar.
De Jong, who is employed by TerraLink Horticulture, said he is very familiar with the area, as it has been his sales territory for the past 24 years.
"I've got business contacts and friends throughout the entire southern Okanagan and into the West Kootenays."
Agriculture will be a key focus for de Jong if he is successful in his attempt to become the new riding's first Member of Parliament.
"Farming issues are certainly dear to my heart.
"(I) recognize they're part of what drives an economy, particularly in the South Okanagan. A very strong portion of the economy comes from the farming community."
Marshall Neufeld of Penticton and Stephen Hill of Rossland have also announced their candidacy for the Conservative nomination.
De Jong wouldn't say whether or not he will consider defending his seat on West Kelowna council in November if he's unsuccessful in his Conservative nomination bid.