Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of the four candidates for Boundary-Similkameen MLA.
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning you can count on where Boundary-Similkameen Liberal candidate Linda Larson will be.
“At 8:45 a.m. I am in the hallways of the high school handing out free muffins, juice, milk, apples and breakfast bars,” she said.
Larson is a firm believer in giving back to the community you live in. She has ran a breakfast program at South Okanagan Secondary School since 2001, but the volunteering doesn’t stop there. She worked on the small business roundtable for the province for six years and chairs Community Futures both locally and provincially. She also has been a volunteer with the Sunnybank Ladies Auxiliary for the 24 years she has lived in the South Okanagan and is a member of a group called WOW (Women of Oliver for Women) that raises money for women in need.
“I think that you should always give back to your community. If you have the privilege of living in a community like this you need to participate to ensure they remain great places to live.”
A successful entrepreneur, devoted volunteer and a woman who has long been involved in municipal politics: This is the side many in the Boundary-Similkameen area have seen of Larson. She is also a doting grandmother, with three daughters of her own and four grandchildren.
“Oh yes, we love to be grandparents. It is the greatest thing imaginable,” said Larson, lighting up as she speaks of her family.
Larson said she originally got into municipal politics because as a business owner she was upset at what was happening in Oliver. She fell into it with both feet. Being involved in politics was never a “bucket list” item for her, the circumstances just fit at these specific points in her life.
Larson and her husband Larry (who she has been married to for 43 years) moved from Richmond to Oliver in 1989 and bought a small grocery store. They successfully went on to run two other businesses in the community.
The candidate was approached by the B.C. Liberals in December and asked to take up the nomination. Having been the former mayor of Oliver (elected in 1997 to 2005) and currently sitting as an Oliver council member, she said her experience in business and politics lent well to transitioning to provincial politics — she also is a believer in Premier Christy Clark and the “resilience” she has shown in the position.
“The policies of the Liberal government have kept this province from being sucked under during some of the worst depression-type situations that there could have been,” said Larson.
“Despite the fact that not everything that any party does is loved by the population, they have managed to keep this province looking good to the world and people are still interested in investing in it, despite a real downturn in the global economy. They kept the business tax the lowest in Canada, they have kept the personal taxes some of the lowest in Canada, and honesty, I can’t afford another dollar in taxes.”