Spring Hawes. (Supplied)

Spring Hawes. (Supplied)

Meet the candidate: Kelowna-West – Spring Hawes (NDP)

Spring Hawes was born and raised in the Okanagan

NDP candidate Spring Hawes was born and raised in the Okanagan. Her son and daughter were both born in the Vernon hospital. She moved to the East Kootenays in 1998. Hawes enjoys the outdoor lifestyle there, and ran a small health food store to support her family at the time. In 2005, she was injured in a biking accident and have used a wheelchair since then. She says she has always been passionate about ‘fairness’ and equality, but living with a disability brought that passion into sharp focus.

She successfully ran for municipal council in Invermere twice, using her voice to raise issues of social justice and sustainability.

She also chaired an accessibility advocacy non-profit for seven years, and participated in numerous community committees. In 2017, she was an NDP nominee in the East Kootenays.

Since moving to Kelowna, Hawes has been a board director for Interior Health, and with peer-support group Accessible Okanagan.

She says she is passionate about helping people live well and achieve their potential. She envisions a world that fully values and truly embraces diversity and removes barriers to participation. Hawes says she knows we must urgently address climate change, and protect our water, air and soil. She believes we have the ingenuity and ability to do it.

What is the most important issue in your riding?

Hawes believes housing is the most important issue in her riding. She believes we need more affordable housing, more subsidized housing, and more supportive housing so everyone who chooses to live in the beautiful valley are able to find a safe and appropriate place to live. Providing a renter’s rebate: She says the NDP will bring in an income-tested renter’s rebate of $400 a year for households earning up to $80,000 annually that are not already receiving other rental support.

What have you done to benefit your community in the past?

Hawes says she has done a lot of volunteer work around equality, accessibility and sustainability; chaired numerous committees, was president of ACE for seven years, and led the community sustainability committee in Invermere.

What will you do to represent your community in Victoria?

She says she will work hard to bring the concerns and priorities of this riding to the forefront. Hawes says she is not afraid to be the squeaky wheel, and anyone who’s ever worked with her, Hawes says will attest to that. Of particular concern or interest to her is housing, access to mental health services, equity and inclusion, climate change and sustainability, and also small business. With a background in small business, Hawes says she knows both the value small business brings to the community, and some of the challenges they face.

READ MORE: B.C. VOTES 2020: Advance voting begins today in West Kelowna

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