KAMLOOPS — Jobs and healthcare are two election issues Kamloops NDP candidate Barb Nederpel and Nancy Bepple share a passion for.
"I have a long history of standing up for working families, anti-poverty initiatives, I have worked on healthcare initiatives, from here all the way to Ottawa," said Nederpel.
Kamloops-North Thompson candidate Barb Nederpel is president of the Kamloops and District Labour Council, and vice-president of the Hospital Employees union. If elected on May 9, she says it will be a simple transition into the role of MLA.
"You find the needs of the people that you represent, you find solutions to make it better, and then you do everything that you can to make sure their needs are met, you know, by implementing policies, passing legislation," Nederpel said. "It's very similar politics actually."
Kamloops-South Thompson candidate Nancy Bepple is also a seasoned politician, having served two terms as city councillor.
"That experience, along with being an activist for various issues has led me to be in politics," Bepple said.
The cause closest to Bepple's heart is advocating for better access to healthcare. It's also her greatest motivation for running in the provincial election.
"I've talked to 84-year-olds standing in line, waiting to see a doctor, I've talked to mom's with toddlers, I've talked to people whose husband had stage 4 cancer (and) doesn't have a doctor," she said. "We need a solution."
That's a sentiment shared by Nederpel, whose experience as a healthcare worker has given her a first hand look at the deficiencies of the healthcare system.
"Absolutely we need to deal with the doctor shortage, but that really is a symptom of a bigger problem in healthcare," Nederpel said. "We also have a dramatic shortage of nurses, and of ultrasonographer. I mean, this is a systemic problem that we're facing here."
With Nederpel's experience in labour politics, and Bepple's experience as Co-op Coordinator at TRU, both are hoping to use what they've learned in those roles to create employment opportunities.
"We have to make sure that we put a focus on creating jobs not just in the Lower Mainland, as Christy Clark's government has done, but make sure the needs of our community are looked after as well," Bepple said.
As the election amps up, there is one thing both candidates look forward to as they navigate the campaign trail.
"My favourite part of this is knocking on doors and talking to people one on one," Nederpel said.
"The thing that I like more than anything is talking to people and listening to their stories," Bepple said. "That's number one. Down the road I hope I'm elected and I can really be a strong advocate here in the community."
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