Kelowna city Coun.Tracy Gray has announced she will seek the federal Conservative nomination in Kelowna-Lake Country. —Image: contributed

Kelowna city councillor enters race for Conservative nomination

Tracy Gray says she will seek the federal Tory nomination in Kelowna-Lake Country

Kelowna city Coun. Tracy Gray is entering the race for the federal Conservative Party nomination in Kelowna-Lake Country.

Gray, who is wrapping up her first four-year term on council, ended weeks of speculation Thursday by announcing she will seek the nomination and will not file papers run in the Oct. 20 civic election.

“It is a genuine honor to work for the families and constituents of Kelowna, and I humbly ask for the opportunity to serve you again—this time, to be a strong, engaged voice in Ottawa,” Gray said.

She made her announcement at Kelowna’s Sandhill Winery.

“I started to seriously consider this when the current federal government was going to implement substantial tax changes without consultation or consideration of how it would hurt businesses, families and retirement planning.”

Gray, the former owner and founder of Discover Wines in Kelowna, has served on several boards since winning a seat on council in 2014, including the Okanagan Basin Water Board—of which she is the chairwoman—the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the Okanagan Regional Library Board, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, the Okanagan Film Commission and the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital Board.

She is also currently associated with four different small businesses in Western Canada, including a software start-up, a small trucking company in Alberta, a finance company and a gift-basket company.

Gray, a 48-year-old mother a teenage son, said she has been working behind the scenes planning her nomination bid and recently attended the Conservative Party’s national convention in Halifax as an observer.

She said came away very impressed with party leader Andrew Scheer.

“He’s a strong leader with common sense. He’s not all glitz and glamour,” she said, adding she is comfortable running for a party viewed as being on the right side of the political spectrum.

“It has the same values I was brought up with—if you work hard, you should be able to get ahead.

In her announcement, Gray said as a result of sitting on city council and other local government boards, she now views the world through an “entrepreneurial and public servant lens.”

“I’ve had the privilege to learn and work with a number of experienced and respected elected leaders in different jurisdictions at all levels of government and value their mentorship,” she said.

Her announcement she is seeking the Conservative nomination in the riding will pit her against another local businesswoman, Troika Development’s CEO Renee Wasylyk. Wasylyk announced last month she will seek the nomination as well.

No date has been set for a nomination vote in the riding but Gray said she expects it to be in the fall. The next federal election must be held before mid-October 2019.

The riding, which historically has elected conservative candidates, was won by a Liberal, Stephen Fuhr in the 2015 federal election. He unseated long-time Tory MP Ron Cannan.

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