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Penticton youngster tests political waters

Lindsey Acheson, 8, asks Coun. Judy Sentes and others on Penticton council what their favourite part of municipal politics is. The Grade 4 student was made an honorary councillor for Monday’s meeting. - Simone Blais/Western News
Lindsey Acheson, 8, asks Coun. Judy Sentes and others on Penticton council what their favourite part of municipal politics is. The Grade 4 student was made an honorary councillor for Monday’s meeting.
— image credit: Simone Blais/Western News

Saying there was a fresh new face on Penticton council this week would be an understatement.

Local council members welcomed a neophyte politician in the making Monday night, as eight-year-old Lindsey Acheson was made honorary councillor for a meeting.

She was invited to sit around the council table at the start of the meeting to witness municipal democracy in action. Coun. Judy Sentes introduced her honorary colleague, noting she recently met the Grade 4 student at the market. When the councillor explained her position, Lindsey proceeded to detail her own run at politics: last year, her class at Wiltse Elementary School held a mock municipal election, with a slate of students seeking office.

Although Lindsey didn’t win the contest, she learned some valuable lessons about the world of politics.

“She believes she was beaten by the other candidate because they promised to bring in Jell-O,” Sentes said.

Although unable to vote on motions, Lindsey was allowed to ask two questions of fellow councillors at the end of the meeting: What is your favourite part about city council, and who controls the meeting. She was also encouraged to make a motion to close the meeting.

At one point during proceedings, Mayor Dan Ashton turned to the new addition, who was occupying the seat of former councillor Dan Albas, who was elected to represent the federal riding of Okanagan Coquihalla in May.

“The last person who sat in that chair became an MP,” Ashton said, suggesting big things could be on her horizon.

Lindsey’s mom, Sandy Acheson, thanked council at the end of the meeting for inviting her daughter to take part, saying it was “a really good experience” that renewed her own interest in civic affairs.

“She’s been a great councillor. I wish they were all this quiet,” the mayor said.

 

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