Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of profiles of the candidates for Boundary-Similkameen MLA.
Tots taught retired teacher Sam Hancheroff nearly everything he needs to know about politics.
“Kindergarten is so difficult because you are dealing with individuals all the time. It’s not like a class kind of scenario, so everyone is so different,” said Hancheroff, who is the New Democratic Party candidate for Boundary-Similkameen.
“Politics is the same. You have to knock on doors, you have to talk to individual people, and you have to look them in the eye and say, ‘Look, this is who I am. I’m a real person. Do you have a question?”
Hancheroff, 65, won his party’s nomination in April, when he defeated challengers Rhonda Bruce and Brian Taylor.
Marji Basso had been slated to represent the NDP in Boundary-Similkameen, but she stepped down in January for personal reasons. That’s when Hancheroff started thinking about throwing his hat in the ring.
“No one from the party phoned me; I don’t think they knew about me,” he said, adding his friends quietly encouraged the idea.
“I also didn’t want someone to run and be acclaimed, like the Liberals. I wanted a democratic process.”
After graduating from high school in Grand Forks in 1967, Hancheroff attended Selkirk College and the University of Victoria, then in 1971 took a job at Okanagan Falls Elementary School.
“As time went by, we had our own kids and life was fine, the area was great. I loved teaching (and) did an awful lot of volunteering in Okanagan Falls.”
He spent his entire career at the school before retiring in 2004. Hancheroff, who has four children and five grandchildren, now lives with his wife, Barbara, on the family vineyard in Kaleden.
Following his retirement, Hancheroff was elected as a trustee on the board of the Okanagan Similkameen School District, from which he’s currently on a leave of absence, and also served on the board of the Okanagan Falls Irrigation District.
Hancheroff said he’s been an NDP supporter for a “long, long time,” although, “I’m not leaning to the left a lot. In my opinion, I’m in the centre.”
Key issues for him lie in the forestry sector, in which he wants to see the government create more jobs and stop raw log exports, and agriculture, an industry he thinks would be reborn with his party’s three-point plan to encourage the purchase, production and consumption of B.C. goods.
Regardless of where people come down on issues or politics, Hancheroff just hopes they’ll make they their voices heard come election day.
“Please vote, please vote, please vote. And if you vote for me, thank you, but please vote. We need to have a democracy.”