New Westminster school board chair Jonina Campbell runs for B.C. Green Party in 2017 election

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      The Green Party of B.C. has signed up a high-profile candidate in the Lower Mainland.

      New Westminster school board chair Jonina Campbell is running as a Green in the provincial election in 2017.

      To commit herself fully to her two roles as education trustee and candidate for MLA in New Westminster, Campbell will step down as school district chair at a meeting Tuesday night (October 25).

      “I think there’s a real need for a party … that has a plan for economic, social and environmental sustainability,” Campbell told the Straight in a phone interview. “I think at the end of the day, we all have ... strong values and commitment to making sure that people have really good jobs, and that we take care of our social issues like education and health care. But we always need to make sure that we do that with … a real commitment to sustainable environment, and I think that the Green Party platform does that the best.”

      Campbell is on her second term as education trustee in New Westminister.

      The mother of three was first elected to the city’s school board in 2011. She became vice chair a year later, and has served as chair since 2013.

      Campbell related that when she first ran for school board, she wanted to be a strong voice for education.

      “We’ve spent the last few years really turning our school district around. We’ve got financial stability. We have built two new schools, a board office, and we secured funding for the long awaited New West secondary,” she recalled.

      As she was turning her attention to make New Westminster a flagship school district, Campbell came to the conclusion that in order to that and to make sure that all students in B.C. get quality education, there has to be a change in the provincial government.

      “I felt it was time for me to turn my attention towards provincial politics,” she said.

      The death of her brother Josh, who struggled with alcoholism, was also a factor in her decision to run provincially.

      “The night after his funeral I pledged to my family that I would rise up. I pledged that I would change things so that others would have the supports needed to recover and be well. It was too late to save my brother, but I now feel the responsibility and the urgency to help others,” Campbell stated in a media release.

      Green leader Andrew Weaver welcomed Campbell to his 2017 team.

      “Jonina has come face-to-face with the challenges and failures of our educational and healthcare systems,” Weaver stated in the news release. “She embodies the courage and conviction needed in our MLAs to take on the systems that are broken and not working for ordinary British Columbians.”

      Weaver will join Campbell in her Campbell’s official campaign launch on Wednesday (November 2). The event at El Santo restaurant (680 Columbia Street) starts at 4 p.m.