Having enjoyed a taste of local politics, Greg Kyllo is ready for the next level as BC Liberal candidate for the Shuswap riding.
Kyllo, a first-term councillor with the District of Sicamous, decided on Friday to run for nomination to lead the Shuswap riding of the BC Liberal party – a position held by retiring MLA George Abbott since 1996 – into the May 2013 provincial election.
Others seeking nomination include former Salmon Arm Mayor Marty Bootsma, former Spallumcheen Mayor Will Hansma and Jordan Ross of Salmon Arm.
Along with being a municipal councillor, Kyllo is the co-owner and manager of TA Structures in Sicamous. Both Kyllo and the company feature prominently in the provincial government’s current BC Jobs Plan campaign. But Kyllo has a longer, deeper connection to the BC Liberals (including his friendship with Abbott), which has, in part, prompted him to try his hand at provincial politics.
“The Liberals are certainly free enterprise – It’s all about small business, and the rights of the individual,” says Kyllo, explaining what it is about the BC Liberal party that appeals to him. “Obviously it’s all about job growth, and I lived through the NDP-era through the late ’80s, early ’90s. It was just a disaster for our business.
“I think the Liberals have done a fantastic job and I want to see that they retain power. The Conservatives I certainly don’t see as a viable option….”
Kyllo says he actually began thinking about running to represent the Shuswap earlier this summer, after he and his wife Georgina were approached by a number of individuals who thought he’d be a good candidate.
“We thought pretty long and hard about it and we initially made a decision about five weeks ago that we were not going to run,” says Kyllo. Things changed, however, when Greg and Georgina attended the recent BC Liberal convention in Whistler. There, the Kyllos – unbeknownst to them – were chosen to receive the BC Liberal Party’s May Brown Award, an honour bestowed upon party supporters for “contributions to the community, the province and the cause of liberalism…” It was also at the convention that Greg was once again being encouraged to run. His final decision was made on Friday, after he had received some bad news that his stepfather Knut Thomsen has esophageal cancer.
“I was like, oh, no – with that and everything else, I might not make the plunge,” says Greg. “And then, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, my stepfather called me and he said, you know, we don’t… want to hold you back in moving forward in something you want to do. He said, ‘Greg, you’ve worked tirelessly for 26 years to build this company up… If this is something you want to do for you, go for it.’”
Asked what hurdles he sees ahead for the BC Liberals in the coming election, Kyllo acknowledged the public is still angry about the HST. But he says he sees the momentum of public opinion swinging back in favour of a Liberal government, something he believes to be essential to the province’s economy.
Greg says that as much as he enjoys serving as a councillor, he would be able to do more for Sicamous, and the Shuswap, if elected MLA. In the meantime, his sights are set on securing the nomination for the Shuswap riding.