With the next set of municipal elections just around the corner, we in the Coast FM newsroom had a conversation with each of the upcoming mayoral candidates.
Today we profile Sechelt candidate, Jeri Patterson. This is Patterson’s first time running for office in Sechelt. Each of Sechelt’s four candidates were asked the same 6 questions
Q1: On a personal level, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My life in Sechelt began when I was six after moving from Nanaimo with my family. I moved to Vancouver to attend BCIT to train in x-ray, or radiography for two years then finished my third year as an x-ray tech in Victoria. There I was introduced to ultrasound when the technology was in its infancy. I became very passionate about that and pursued ultrasound training in North Carolina, Vancouver, and have worked as an ultrasound technologist in many places. I worked internationally, introducing new medical equipment to the world.
I since retired and moved into a quieter lifestyle, working extensively with animal rescues and that involved creating a registered non-profit animal rescue – rescuing primarily cats and bunny rabbits – looking at caring for them, re-homing them and giving them options in life. It was extremely rewarding phase in my life and ties back to what defines me: my desire and focus on caring for people and for animals. I’m a caregiver.
Q2: What makes you qualified to be mayor?
I’m forthcoming and also a very good listener. As a healthcare professional, that’s why I think I was very successful in healthcare. So I would listen to my patient. I would hear what they had to say so I could provide the service and health care support that they required.
I’m good at listening, good at observing, and I will follow through. I’m 65, a retired health care professional, I have the time. I have the the experience. I have the commitment to be your mayor.
Q3: What are you most proud of through your professional life?
I’m very proud of the many facets of my life. My focus has been and continues to be on the welfare of people and as your mayor for the District of Sechelt, my focus would be on the residents and community of the District of Sechelt. I care for people.
Q4: Do you have any regrets in your professional life?
Q5: What do you think is the biggest issue in this election?
The biggest issue in this election is to understand the complexity of the issues and the crisis that Sechelt is in, and is facing. I’ve been watching and listening to the District of Sechelt now through a number of different councils and my biggest concern – which is kind of a big umbrella concern – is asset management and the failure of previous governments to manage, maintain and prepare our assets. Climate change is happening and our assets are unable to cope with the situation that we currently have, let alone be able to manage or address climate change as we move forward.
The complex answer is that Sechelt is in a crisis and the issues and the failures of the previous councils to maintain and improve our assets is causing harm now and will continue to cause harm unless those assets are maintained and upgraded to address the needs of the community.
Q6: Is there anything else you wanted to add?
People that know me know that I am continuously communicating with all levels of government on various issues. I advocate for or against issues continually.
For example, one of my very focused actions at the moment involves the BC provincial government and pharma care, and pharma care not covering prescribed medications because of cost. So if you have money, you can purchase the prescribed prescription and if you have no money, you can’t purchase it.
There is a very clear divide regarding prescriptions and the health care team and BC residents depending on income and pharma care choosing to not support or pay for products or prescriptions based on their cost. In some cases people are being forced to give up food in order to pay for prescriptions. If pharma care paid for those products for some of those individuals, it would put an extra $200-$700 per month in their pockets. People could use that money for food, housing, transportation, quality of life.
I’ve had conversations with the provincial and federal government on this issue and others. In being your mayor, I would have a stronger voice than I already have with them, and to tackle the asset management issues in the district.
Note: Some answers have been edited or paraphrased with candidate approval for length.