Jukka Laurio is making a second attempt at the mayor’s seat, having run in the 2011 municipal election.
Laurio said he has a plan and a vision for Penticton.
“Penticton hasn’t progressed much. We made major steps in the wrong direction. I want to give Penticton a job. We have orchards and wineries but it is not quite enough,” said Laurio. “We are so out of the way, so we have to attract people with our lakes, beaches and beautiful climate. The idea is to design the city for that purpose and make it known for that stuff.”
Laurio ceased his campaign in 2011 after revelations of criminal actions in his past came to light. This includes a 2004 conviction for trafficking a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking in Kelowna. He was sentenced to one day in jail and 10 months of probation. During the 2011 elections Laurio confirmed he spent four years in federal prison for a sexual offence dating back 15 years, but would not comment on the conviction.
Since the last election Laurio said he has done a considerable amount of work including volunteering at churches and becoming a small business owner.
“I’m not worried about people questioning my past. It is already out there and I have done nothing wrong but instead have improved considerably and I am invested in this city,” said Laurio.
Jukka Laurio admits his past is going to be an issue in his campaign for Penticton mayor.
Laurio ran for election in 2011, but stopped campaigning when his criminal record, including convictions for drug trafficking and a sex offence came to light.
“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, which is why I know so much,” said Laurio, explaining that he has been trying to show he is a good community member, participating in church activities and volunteering in the community.
“I chose to run because I can see Penticton has a great deal of potential and it is not being used.”
Laurio said he would like to redesign the city with an eye to making it a better place to host events, getting input from emergency service organizations and others.
“The more events we have, the more outside tourism money we bring here. We need new money. We don’t have anything else.”
Laurio spent 20 years working as an accountant and said generating money for the city is a solution to most problems.
Laurio opened the Rush in and Finish Café about two years ago.
“The person that set it up with me is Russian and I am a Finn. Borscht is soup of the day,” he joked.