The final results from the 2020 B.C. Election came in over the weekend, confirming that both Tom Shypitka and Doug Clovechok will serve a second term for the BC Liberals in both Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke.
Shypitka secured Kootenay East with 57.90% of the vote, while in Columbia River-Revelstoke, Clovechok claimed 48.03% support. Clovechok saw a narrower margin of victory with a 1,326 vote difference between him and BC NDP challenger Nicole Cherlet (38.97%). Shypitka finished with 4,398 votes more than Wayne Stetski (32.17%) of the BC NDP.
MORE: Shypitka and Clovechok officially re-elected following final vote count (Nov. 9, 2020)
Both BC Liberals are now MLA-elects for the second time in their political careers, noting their appreciation to their constituents.
“There is a big weight off the shoulders and it’s really gratifying to know that the people have put their trust back in our office, I think we’ve done a really great job,” Tom Shypitka told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “Our staff here doesn’t look at anybody according to their political stripe, we just want to help as many people as we possibly can. We’re really eager to get back to work, there’s lots to do and I’m really happy that I’ve got the trust back in the constituents of Kootenay East.”
“I am appreciative to the folks that voted for me, there was over 7,000 of them that did that but I also want to make sure that the people who didn’t vote for me, and there were a few, that know I’m their MLA too,” said Doug Clovechok. “My office is always open and we’re going to help everybody.”
Both having an open-door policy, regardless of political affiliation, Shypitka and Clovechok weren’t concerned by the final count as they waited days after the October 24th election for the final results from Elections BC.
“We were at 56% last time (2017) and we shot for 60%, I guess we split the difference around 58%,” said Shypitka. “The rest of the province really trended downwards with the BC Liberals this year, we lost a bunch of seats, and so to see an uptick in our constituency here was quite remarkable and it’s an honour and privilege to represent once again for another term.”
“We weren’t really that concerned,” added Clovechok. “We didn’t think that the results from the mail-in ballots would change a whole bunch. I just want to thank all of my volunteers and my wife for all of the hard work that they put in and we’re ready to start working again.”
For the Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA-elect, that work includes several files he was already tackling before the election was called by John Horgan and the NDP, who have secured a majority government.
“We got a lot of open files that were put on hold because of the snap election,” Clovechok told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “As a constituency MLA, my priority is working with my constituents and getting those things solved.”
Some of those projects include sheep populations in Radium Hot Springs and ongoing work on the major Kicking Horse Canyon project on the Trans-Canada Highway.
As for Shypitka, he wants to immediately focus on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has put a damper on a lot of things, our personal health for sure but our economic health as well. Our government really has to focus on that. Let Dr. Bonnie (Henry) and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) handle the personal side of things, but on the economic side, government really has to step up to the plate,” said Shypitka.
The Kootenay East MLA-elect wants the government to tackle B.C.’s jobless rate, and help recovery for the forestry and tourism sectors.
“They have to come up to the plate and help these businesses out and we’re going to be holding them to account to that.”
Both Wayne Stetski and Nicole Cherlet of the BC NDP conceded to Shypitak and Clovechok following the final election results. Their full statements can be found below: