MLA Jackie Tegart at 293 Wallace Street

The Fraser-Nicola MLA opens up to guests about her role in the current riding and as the candidate for the liberals in the upcoming election

Jackie Tegart MLA Fraser-Nicola (right) addresses guests during a speaking engagement at 293 last Tuesday. The event was organized by Laurie Throness MLA Chilliwack-Hope (centre) to provide Tegart a chance to share her thoughts with the community as the Liberal candidate in the upcoming election

A special gathering occurred at 293 Wallace Street last Tuesday, when Laurie Throness MLA Chilliwack-Hope,  hosted a speaking engagement for Jackie Tegart MLA Fraser-Nicola.

The event was an opportunity for Tegart to share good will and her thoughts as the Liberal candidate in the upcoming election.

The gracious and down to earth MLA took a moment to sit down with The Hope Standard and to discuss life as an MLA, and her plans for Chilliwack-Hope, should she be elected into the new riding in 2017, when Hope goes to the Fraser-Nicola boundary.

Understanding the heart of rural communities, having grown up in Ashcroft, B.C., Tegart imparted that empowering and stabilizing local resources, assets, and the economy was her number one priority.

“I’m a small town girl, I understand rural communities, and I’m committed to keeping them strong,” she said.

Tegart, served, 17 years on school board, and 15 of those years as board chair.

At only 27, Tegart ran for the board because a special needs boy wasn’t being allowed into school by the organization, and she wanted to change that.

“I didn’t think that was fair,” she said.

Tegart also served as the president of the BC School Trustees, and as the executive, at which time she became very good friends with Carole James.

James was the leader of the NDP party at the time.

On her friendship with James and their opposing parties, Tegart chalked it up to a difference of opinion, not a character issue.

“We have different philosophies, but that does not change who we are as people, and that’s really important to me,” she said. “When I walked into the house for the very first time and I saw Carole James, I said, are we allowed to hug and she said, only this time because that’s not the culture of the legislature.”

Debating in a coalition style can get heated and a times  personal which is disturbing, according to Tegart, who understands the sensibilities of finding a common ground.

“I’ve lived in Ashcroft since I’ve been six — Ashcroft is a great place to raise kids, to go to school, to find out who you are, and to volunteer.

I don’t think there’s a committee I haven’t been on,” she said.

Tegart served three years on council in Ashcroft, and admitted that challenges were par for the course, depending on the team and the leadership.

“There were certain things that I was really passionate about, and that’s what I did — I let go of the really frustrating things, because sometimes government moves pretty slow.

Tegart enlightened guests on one of her unique trademarks; apparently, she enjoys Werther candies while sitting next to Throness at caucus, who is part of her team, one that she acknowledges as great.

One thing Tegart made clear was her passion for what she does.

“I love this job, the job of representing you, and I’m amazed at what we can get done.”