NDP candidate plans to finish studies

Kelowna West candidate Shelley Cook plans to finish her PhD

West Kelowna NDP candidate Shelley Cook was not surprised by the election results in the Kelowna West riding, Tuesday night.

“I knew it was tough, I didn’t have grand expectations about anything,” she said.

Cook lost with 6,055 ballots, with 30 per cent of the vote compared to Premier Christy Clark’s 14,559 or 60 per cent.

She said she had no regrets and thanked everyone who supported her in her campaign as she addressed a full-house of NDP supporters at Black Box Theatre, Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed of course and you know what, the people have spoken and I hope we had a great voter turnout,” she said.

“It is what it is.”

Cook said she was excited to see the provincial results, which currently sit at a Liberal minority government.

The former executive director of the John Howard Society plans to finish her Ph. D in urban geography at UBCO but did not say if she will stay in politics.

Originally from Kelowna, Cook is leading two research studies on homelessness in the city.

The first is Mapping for Change: A Case Study of Enhancing Informational Exchange and Collaboration Through Geoweb Technology which creates and evaluates a database of homelessness services in the city.

The second is Cook’s doctoral research on homeless social capital, studying the relationship between homeless mobility and use of urban space.

Cook was responsible for developing close to 100 units of housing for the homeless, as well as employment programs for people with disabilities, restorative justice and other alternatives to the formal criminal justice system.

Raymond Koehler was in attendance during the election at the NDP gathering.

He is an advocate for the NDP because as a gay senior, he believes they support his concerns.

Koehler dressed entirely in orange during multiple events around the Central Okanagan, donning an orange NDP cap with buttons supporting Cook.

“My interest is in the other 90 per cent, who are marginalized people who need services… we’ve got the homeless problem and health care in the Okanagan,” he said.

A significant number of seniors are now over the age of 65, which will need resources, he said, as well as youth who are on the streets.

Koehler has been advocating for the NDP since the 1970s, while in Saskatoon. On the federal level, he supports the NDP because he believes the party supports minority groups.

“Certainly Mr. Harper was no friend for minorities,” he said.

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