IN KAMLOOPS, there are almost equal numbers of people in their 20s, as people in their 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s. There are about 12,000 people who are in their 20s, and similar numbers of people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
But looking at the list of candidates for the upcoming Oct. 20 City of Kamloops elections, it’s clear that the optimum time to be a local government candidate is when you are between the ages of 40 and 49.
Of the 21 candidates, only three council candidates, Chris Bose, Alison Klie and Nicholas Adams, are in their 20s. Three more are in their 30s: Donovan Grube Cavers, Mike O’Reilly and Sadie Hunter.
At the other end of the timeline, five candidates for council — Ray Dhaliwal, Denis Walsh, Dale Bass, and Dieter Dudy, along with mayoral candidate Ken Christian — are in their 60s.
Only council candidate Bill Sarai, and mayoral candidate Bill Turnbull, are in their 50s.
The remainder are in their 40s: Shawn Harnett, Corally Delwo, Kathy Sinclair, Jennifer Adams, Dennis Geisbrecht, Arjun Singh, Stephen Karpuk and Caroline King. (Gerald Watson’s and Jim Johal’s ages were not available).
It’s pretty impressive that so many people in their 40s are putting in the time to run. Most of the candidates have family commitments, many have businesses, and all have some type of job. Despite being a very busy time in life, people in their 40s are coming forward to run. They are juggling multiple roles already, and yet they’re finding time to put their name forward to serve the City.
It makes sense that people in their 20s would find it difficult to run. More and more young people are spending a longer period of time getting an education. Many have uncertain employment.
People in their 30s are establishing their careers, digging out of student debt and having babies.
Those in their 50s realize time is running out, and they are busy saving for retirement.
In their 60s, anyone who is running is giving up well-earned retirement time and time away from grandkids.
So whether they are in their 20s, their 60s, or anywhere in between, there are pressures that make running for City council difficult. But given that there are almost as many candidates running who are between 40 and 49 years old as all the other ages combined, this seems to be the time when being a candidate is the easiest.
Or perhaps easiest isn’t quite the right word. I know it isn’t easy at any age. But it may be that there is more will to do it.
Regardless of what motivates politicians to run, voters need to think what is best for the city. Should the age of the council we elect match the age distribution of the City of Kamloops?
If that was the case, then there would be at least one councillor from each decade: one councillor in their 20s, one councillor who was in their 30s, and so on.
Can a council that has no member in their 20s serve a city that has 12,000 citizens from the ages of 20 to 29 years old? Does it make sense to have a council made up entirely with only people above the age of 40, when 50,000 of the city’s population of 90,000 is between the age of zero and 39?
Even though there are not equal numbers of younger candidates running, there are enough to choose from to give some balance to the council.
Younger people see the world in a different way. They have spent their entire lives with computers, climate change and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While all but six of the candidates for council and mayor are above the age of 40, I’m hoping that some of the candidates in their 20s and 30s are elected. We need their leadership to help make our city a better place to be for all of us.
Nancy Bepple is a former city councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.