Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

To keep up with who is running for what, the Western News is creating a list of all the candidates running in the civic election in the run-up to the Oct. 20 polling day. The nomination period has now closed (See City of Penticton declaration of candidates attached at bottom) but we will be continuing to update this page as candidate statements arrive.

Bios can be emailed to skidd@pentictonwesternnews.com


Andrew Jakubeit: I’ve been on city council for 10 years, I’ve lived in Penticton for 27 years, our business, the Grooveyard record store, has been operating for 28 years. I have a video production company. We’ve raised two children and have one grandson. I’m the organizer of the Canucks Young Stars classic and the Reel PeachFest Film Festival. I am the chair of the Okanagan Film Commission and a director of B.C. Hockey.

I chose to run again because we need some stability and consistency on council, particularly in the mayor’s chair, to leverage the positive momentum the city is experiencing right now.

John Vassilaki: Vassilaki has lived in Penticton for 63 years, graduating from McKay Technical Institute. He married his high school sweetheart, Barb, and raised two children, Fred and Joanne. John enjoys a full life as a grandfather of four, an active Rotarian and vibrant businessman, with his most recent projects improving the downtown with over forty new rental residences and eight commercial spaces.

A past councillor of twelve years, John has the experience and vision for the position of mayor. John’s priorities are focused around improved safety for all citizens, improved prosperity with increased household incomes and managing community assets for future generations.

Jason Cox is a proud father of four teenage daughters and a long-time entrepreneur and community leader. He owns The People’s Soda Co., a craft soda manufacturing business in downtown Penticton. Jason was previously a career commercial banker. Jason has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from UBC.

He has been very active in the community as a member of dozens of boards and committees which gives him considerable perspective on issues the city is facing and the solutions along with relevant hands-on experience and education to make better decisions and put Penticton on a better, safer, more prosperous path.

Jukka Laurio: I came to Penticton 15 years ago looking for a place to work part-time and live a semi-retired lifestyle. There were not enough jobs available to achieve this goal. I know how to hustle to find work. I was unintentionally very successful. I went on to open businesses and help others to achieve their business goals.

Penticton is a faint reflection of its former glory, but it has tremendous potential. If something is broken and fixing it will benefit people and I believe I can fix it, I am obligated to try. I have a vision and a plan for Penticton.”

James Blake: I grew up in an abusive environment. I left home as a young teenager, hoping to escape. I spent some time homeless until I was blessed to find people that believed in me. I was determined to build a better life for myself. I found a job cleaning theatres. I worked hard; constantly moving up the corporate ladder. Soon I was responsible for almost 80 theatres, the biggest cinema chain in California.

I have repeatedly built successful teams. I am running for mayor to bring Penticton’s people together as team, creating a better city for us all.

Also running for mayor: Dominic Wheeler.


Karen Brownlee: My family and I have lived in Penticton for 30 years. After a time, I started my own lawn care business, Okanagan Lawn Care Ltd., which I still run after 25 years. When I turned 50, I started a ladies magazine called Encompass, which went global with digital print for 10 years.

I am wanting to run for city council because of my concern with the way Penticton has declined over the last while. With my business and people skills, I can become part of a team to help make Penticton a safe, innovative, healthy and affordable place to live.

Frank Regehr: I have lived in Penticton with my wife Helen since 1989. I retired from School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha) after 22 years as secretary-treasurer.

Over the past five years, I have spent a significant amount of time working to understand the City of Penticton’s financial systems and practices. Within the past two years, I have served on the Arena Task Force committee and the start-up of the Utility Rate Review Committee.

Prime goals in running for council include: improve financial decision making; promote accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of city programs; seek a method for residents in adjoining areas of the RDOS to pay a portion of Penticton’s recreation facility deficits; support public safety and the protection of parkland from inappropriate development and support the sustainability of the city’s infrastructure.

Isaac Gilbert: Visiting Penticton multiple times I decided it was time to transfer, as a B.C. Parks ranger in the Manning Park, to the grasslands of the South Okanagan. Since becoming a resident over two years ago I have delved into the community and help support and start different community organizations. I am the current president of Penticton Toastmasters, started and run an improv theatre group, support urban cycling with PACA and teach public speaking and leadership qualities at SOICS.

I want to continue to support my community as a councillor to Penticton. Being a community organizer and strong communicator I believe I will bridge the gap between the city and the citizens respectfully, compassionately, and meaningfully. Transitioning Penticton as a sustainable city environmentally, economically and culturally.

Katie Robinson is an experienced businesswoman with a financial and management background, as well as being a Penticton city councillor from 1990-1999 and 2013-2014, and RDOS and OSRHD director from 1993-1999. Past president of Peach Festival and Penticton & District Community Concerts, founding member of the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan and the Fest of Ale.

“This city needs strong leadership, that listens and is accountable to our citizens. It’s time to get back on the right path with a council that is dedicated to serving and protecting its citizens, ensuring Penticton remains “a place to stay forever.”

John Archer is a retired businessman who loves Penticton and enjoys volunteering with the Penticton Art Gallery and SOSPride. Currently, he’s a strata secretary, a member of Protect Penticton Parks Society as well as the Seniors’ Centre and Community Centre. John has received recognition for helping two Syrian families settle to the Okanagan. Ironman finisher in 2010, he competes annually in international swim races.

John is dedicated to serving the City of Penticton by making informed, sustainable decisions. He’s passionate about protecting Penticton’s environment, improving neighbourhood safety and enhancing the beauty of his community.

Marie Prior was born in the United Kingdom, and moved to B.C. in 1968, married to her husband Gerry for 50 years, with two sons and grandchildren. A longtime resident of Penticton, Prior was in banking for 25 years, and a counsellor for 20 years in private practice, as well as serving in a number of organizations.

“It is essential we deal with the basics, infrastructure, etc. It is council’s responsibility to provide a safe community.”

Prior’s concerns centre around seniors, policing, safety, negative behaviours, drug overdoses, discarded needles, public health, tax benefits of economic investment zones, residential taxes and non-residents using city facilities with no contribution to taxes.

Daryl Clarke: I have lived and worked in Penticton for the last 29 years. Starting as an anvil man at Western Saws, then helping it grow into CUT Technologies as the Production Manager, since 2006.

I have volunteered extensively in my community and my children’s schools. For the last 12 years, I have been a member of the Chamber of Commerce and a director for the last five. I am also the vice-chair of the Penticton Industrial Development Association and sit on our city’s transportation committee. I feel we need to have some real conversations, to help move our city forward in a positive direction.

Julius Bloomfield: People are asking me why I am running for council. I reply that we should be engaged in the shaping of our community, whether by volunteering or sitting on committees or be part of the political administration, I’ve done the first two, now it’s time for the third part.

My focus will be on an intelligent progress that deals with housing, tourism, city infrastructure, agriculture, the arts, and public involvement in the governing process. As my dad used to tell me: always have an opinion when it counts and be prepared to share it.

Max Picton: Penticton has been my home for 37 years, where I live with the love of my life, Desiree, and our dog Hemi. Whenever possible, you will find me enjoying all of the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities our area has to offer. I’ve worked hard to build a successful career as an entrepreneur in Penticton, which has included businesses across the entertainment, tourism, and construction industries.

I’ve never considered myself a politician, but I have always considered myself to be honest and direct, informed and decisive, approachable and fair. These are the qualities voters can continue to expect from me if re-elected.

Jake Kimberley: My wife Kate and I arrived in Penticton from England in 1966. I was first elected as a councillor in a by-election 1986. Re-elected to a councillor for a three-year term in 1987. In 1990 I was elected as mayor for three years and again as mayor in 1993, voted out of office in 1996, re-elected as mayor in 2005 thru 2008. Projects as mayor: water filtration plant, revitalization of Front St., upgrade major intersections, the extension of Duncan Avenue, paving the industrial area plus underground services, main focus on infrastructure. The construction of the SOEC now the biggest economic boost to the city.

Doug Maxwell:
I have been a downtown Penticton resident for 23 years. I have been married 45 years with two grown children and five grandkids. I am a retired business owner and licenced auto technician. I volunteer at the food bank, a board member with PDSCL, a board member with Penticton creek restoration committee and a regular attendee at city council meetings. I chose to live in Penticton in 1995 because of the small town atmosphere, traffic, and lifestyle which I would very much like to maintain. A council seat would help me try to influence our city to grow slowly in that direction.

Kevin Proteau:
Many people know me as the publisher of Locals Supporting Locals calendars. I am running for council because I want to be your watchdog at city hall.

I see too many issues going on in Penticton. I want to help make it a place to stay forever again. It’s time to “drain the swamp” and clean up city hall’s bad reputation for backing corporate policy and not hearing what the people of this city are saying. Kevin Proteau for City Council is my Facebook page for more information about me and I want to hear from you about what you want to see for our city.

Christopher Millin
owns and operates Saint-Germain Cafe Gallery. After four years of dealing with the general public, and after four years of attempting to run a small business, he believes he now has a point of view and a voice that will benefit the city and everyone in it.

His focus is on strengthening the city’s draw for small business (and maintaining that business once it gets here), on government transparency (and better public engagement), and on cultural enhancement, ensuring young families who choose to move here have more to do than just sitting on the beach.

“I want Penticton to be my forever home, so I am stepping up to help make it the best home in the world.”

Glenn Clark: I have lived and worked in Penticton for 27 years and my wife Camille and I raised our two daughters here. I have seen first-hand how politicians have determined where we are today and how their decisions directly affect the citizens of Penticton.

I bring a unique, balanced and positive perspective and am running for council because our community faces many issues that need to be addressed: employment opportunities, crime and wealth inequity. We all want new economic drivers and a healthy lifestyle, but this objective hasn’t been effectively achieved. I am motivated by finding concrete solutions.

Campbell Watt: I was born in Scotland but moved to B.C. when I was young, spending time in Creston, Campbell River and Smithers before moving Penticton in 1999 as a golf professional until I switched professions and became a mortgage broker in 2009. I have been married to an amazing Penticton lady for 13 years and we have a six-year-old daughter. I have spent six years on the Chamber of Commerce board (twice as president), six years on the DPA board (twice as president) and dedicated time to other boards and committees. I was also voted Business Leader of the Year in 2014.

Although there have been some hiccups along the way, this city is moving in a positive direction and I would like to continue to have as much influence as I can.

Christopher Evansin: I am running for council to ensure that there is proper representation for the young adults of Penticton.

Having progressed through the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program, I have learned to handle high levels of responsibility at a young age. I have been a leader in many different environments thanks to Air Cadets and I want to continue to take on new responsibilities as I continue to gain life experience.

There are few opportunities for young adults to begin their careers in politics. I am taking this opportunity as a twenty-year-old to begin my career in politics.

Connie Sahlmark has been an active part of Penticton’s community for over 15 years. After completing a Sustainable Construction Management Technologies program, she put her passion for sustainability into action in the 2017 provincial election, running for the Green Party and garnering almost 19 per cent of the vote. Her professional career includes contributing to sustainable design for local architecture firms and working for many years in the construction and carpentry sector.

She has a bold vision for affordable housing, smart infrastructure, clean energy and development in compliance with a community-driven OCP. She has represented taxpayers as a progressive voice and vice chair of the city’s affordable housing task force and its transportation advisory committee. She has given time to local groups like First Things First Okanagan and Save Skaha Park Society.

Duffy Baker is a proud stepfather, loving spouse, a respectable small-business owner and dedicated community leader.

Baker donates and volunteers with organizations such as Meals on Wheels Breakfast Club, Discovery House and Mamas For Mamas. Baker is on an Affordable Housing Committee with Mamas For Mamas, where is working to find a solution to the housing crisis in the Okanagan. Baker says he is passionate about connecting with community members while supporting an affordable, healthy and revitalized Penticton.

Through being a community leader, level-headed businessman, and an influential communicator, Baker will be the bridge between the city and the residents in a meaningful and respectful way.

Jesse Martin: I was born in Penticton in 1983. I grew up between here and the Kootenays and moved to Penticton for good in 2011 after completing my teaching degree. The past seven years I have worked at Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School and also volunteer as the organizer of a dodgeball league that has served to connect dozens of young Pentictonites.

I am running for council is out of a higher calling. As a teacher, I was used to putting my students first and going out of my way to ensure they had access to as many opportunities as possible. I bring the same philosophy to politics. My goal is to go above and beyond to help Penticton residents raise their quality of life. I enjoy getting to know as many people as possible and intend to keep the lines of communication open between myself and all residents.

Judy Sentes: Having lived in this community for 30 years, I absolutely believe that Penticton is “a place to stay forever.” With three adult children and five grandchildren, I have the time and energy to be committed to enhancing a vibrant, health and sustainable community and to advocate for affordable housing. I’m experienced in encouraging community growth through new and existing business opportunities. I’m dedicated to being involved and promoting community events and activities and to creating more accessible healthcare opportunities for seniors and others requiring assitance. I remain committed, experienced and dedicated to being your city councillor.

Joe Frocklage: I was born and raised in Bowness, Alta, becoming an integral part of Penticton in 2006. My business, Penticton Mobility, helps many people with mobility issues. Confined to a power chair, I enjoy meeting people on the street during my daily travels.

Over the years I have helped many people get off the street and back to school or work, helping them feel like a productive part of this community. With my finger on the pulse of the community, I am continually aware of the challenges of today’s youth and senior citizens. Leading with my heart, I will aggressively keep decision makers, myself included, accountable, especially when it comes to housing for the marginal, work for the youth, fairness for the seniors and investing in the things that make Penticton a great place to live.

David O’Brien: David is a humanitarian who thinks of others before himself. He is down to earth and easy to talk to and shows interest in people of all ages, races and classes. He is reliable, trustworthy and rarely on time, unless he is with his campaign manager, who is writing this bio. David is often conscious about his physical, mental and spiritual well-being as well as others, bringing a holistic approach to politics. He likes to travel, has lived abroad, frequented and resided in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Whistler and Penticton. He has excelled in three different careers during his lifetime; commercial property management, tourism and hospitality and public transportation. David is retired and a grandfather to four grandchildren. What David would bring to council is a much needed fresh outlook, new ideas and fair opinions on all issues. There may not be a “perfect solution” to a problem but Dave would find a way around it, as he has a tendency to think outside the box. Based on my professional assessment and David’s social work within the community of Penticton and abroad, I highly suggest his voice be heard in city council.

Also running for council: Lynn Kelsey and Darryl Sanders. Martyn Lewis and Tracy Franklin have withdrawn from the race.


Shelley Clarke: I moved the Okanagan in 1986, then settled in Penticton in 1990 with my husband Daryl. For the past 11 years, I have had the pleasure and challenge of being a school trustee in Penticton.

In the past, I have worked with persons with special needs and at-risk youth. I was involved in my children’s schools as a PAC volunteer and coach, and I am still an active volunteer in my community and schools. I truly believe, if you help that one child with a learning difference, those strategies and tools will also work for all students.

Tracy Van Raes: I am a Penticton resident and mother of two children, age 18 and 11. I work as the marketing and community relations manager at Total Restoration Services. I am heavily involved in the community with a variety of board experience. I chair the Starfish Pack Program, a Rotary initiative that feeds 45 local elementary school children in need in five schools with a backpack of food every week. I am running for the position of trustee so that I can be the strong voice of advocacy for children in our district.

Derek Hurst: I have lived in Penticton with my family since 2003. I have two daughters, one second year university and the youngest graduating from Pen High this year. I am operations manager at Bad Tattoo Brewing in Penticton.

I chose to run because I see it as a natural progression of my relationship with the school district. I have been an active member on three school PACs since my eldest was in kindergarten holding various positions including vice chair and chair. The last six years I have been the chair of the SD67 District Parent Advisory Council.

Dan Walton:
Neighbourhood schools need more protection. In Peachland, where I work as a newspaper editor, the elementary school lost Grade 7 years ago, then had Grade 6 removed earlier this year. Kids now start taking the bus out of town at age 11. Centralizing schools should not be the way forward. Here in SD67, all four trustees running for re-election voted to close three schools. As a journalist with the Western News in 2015, I saw school gymnasiums across the district packed with families pleading for trustees to do whatever necessary to keep their schools open. Yet five out of seven trustees voted for mothballs.

If I become your trustee, you can count on a voice to protect our schools.

Barb Sheppard is an entrepreneur, volunteer and champion of education in Penticton. In 2014, she won a trustee seat, promising to serve the community for a minimum of two terms. Putting her name forward in 2018 is keeping that promise.

Sheppard says she is a community contributor; a board member of Community Futures for 15 years and has been involved with more than 35 non-profit community events and festivals. Working with boards and budgets has given her the knowledge and experience to continue her work as a trustee. As a mom with a son in SD67, she has volunteered at schools, introducing the Farm Bag fundraising program, and assisted with the One-to-One reading program.

James Palanio: As your school trustee, I plan to ensure a focus on student achievement and a direction that benefits the entire district and our communities within it. My top priorities as your trustee is to support our students in a variety of ways.

I’ve volunteered on many boards and have considerable experience as a director, I am currently the president of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, my experience will be an asset on our school board.

I am happily married to Laura, and have two girls in our school district. Laura and I are both graduates of Penticton Secondary and are excited that our two girls will soon be as well.

Also running for Penticton trustee: Tracey Hebert.

Ginny Manning: Born and raised in the area, I attended Kaleden Elementary and graduated from Penticton Senior Secondary. For the last 16 years, it has been my privilege to represent your public education interests as your rural trustee. In this time, I sat on local and provincial committees, served four years as board chair and four years as vice-chair.

Public education is the key to a strong society. Working to ensure that all students have a positive educational experience is my purpose. Every child deserves a great education and I believe that getting one is an important factor in both individual and community success.

Manning is running for the rural chair on the SD67 Board.

Linda Van Alphen: My post-secondary studies and jobs took me across Canada eventually settling in the Okanagan Valley in 1973. In 1988, our family moved to Summerland where we created a successful business selling in 2006.

My relevant background to being a board of education trustee is in lifelong business administration and as a BCCPAC Certified Parent Advocate. Over the past 16 years, I have based every vote/decision that I have made on placing the best interests of all students in an effective and fiscally responsible manner at the forefront of every conversation. I chose to run because I would like to continue to do so.

Van Alphen is running for the Summerland seat on the SD67 board, along with Julie Planiden, Dave Stathers, Peter Waterman.


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