Liberal candidate John Rustad has been re-elected as MLA for the Nechako Lakes riding.
During the May 9 election night, Rustad was off to a strong start. The race then tightened for a while with NDP candidate Anne Marie Sam coming close, but the votes in favour of Rustad grew swiftly as more votes were counted.
Rustad finished the night with 5108 votes, which represents 55 per cent of the total number of votes. Sam received a total of 2784 votes, which represents 30 per cent of the votes.
Green Party candidate Douglas Normal Gook received 843 votes (nine per cent) while Libertarian candidate Jon Rempel received 417 (four per cent) and Independent candidate Al Trampuh received 218 (two per cent).
First elected in 2005, Rustad said he was honoured to continue to represent the Nechako Lakes riding.
“I’m very thankful and humbled and honoured to have the opportunity to represent Nechako Lakes and to be our voice down in Victoria, to fight for the things we need to fight for in our riding,” he said.
“My focus for this term will be to forward the interests of Nechako Lakes to the best of my ability,” he continued. “The softwood lumber agreement and forestry issues are my top priority; advancing relations with First Nations is also very important for stability and predictability for our area.”
“There may be some interesting agricultural opportunities as well as mining potential,” he added. “I’m going to continue to push for road improvements and other infrastructure needs for the riding which includes trying to advance the case for a replacement hospital for Fort St. James.”
Born and raised in Prince George, Rustad has lived all of his life in northern B.C. He worked in the forest industry for more than 20 years. In 2009, he and his wife Kim moved to Cluculz Lake, near Vanderhoof.
When asked about the proposed revenue sharing agreement between the province and northwest B.C., Rustad said that reaching an agreement will depend a lot on what happens once the final count is concluded and what the future of LNG will be.
“This won’t be easy,” he said. “I can tell you we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count, which will commence on May 22, 2017.