Youngest-ever Dawson Creek city councillor attributes election success to personal approach

Malkinson said he remembers being very keen on watching news programs on television even as a young child. He said his interest in current events and how things are moving forward is probably a result of his respect for and interest in the past.

“I’m really interested in history, and to learn how things all form and why everything in the world is here, you gain a respect for the things that you have today. It’s kind of a beautiful thing, actually,” he said.

However, he said it was only when the official nomination period for city council candidates had already begun that he started looking seriously at running for council. He said it also took some encouragement from family friend Danny Schilds to help make up his mind.

“He said he thought I would be a good person on council, that I would challenge things with new ideas, and that it would be good to get some young blood in there.”

Malkinson received 867 votes in the election on Saturday, the second most out of any of the 15 candidates running. He attributes his success to a campaign that focussed on making a personal connection rather than blanket advertising.

“I knocked on doors every night and I talked to as many people as I could. I didn’t even have many signs up or anything like that. The whole idea of my campaign was trying to meet people face-to-face, and I tried to used the places that I frequent, the places that I’m familiar with, to be seen there as much as I could and advertise a lot there.”

He said those venues included the South Peace Campus of Dawson Creek Secondary School where he graduated from this past June, the hockey arenas downtown where he refereed games for several years, and Rotary Manor where his mother works.

Malkinson said he was also savvy about not inundating voters with his campaign, but rather he waited to the last day before the election to call supporters, send out text messages and post Facebook messages to get out the vote. He added his deep family roots in the community and his school friends, coupled with an overall low voter turnout, were probably big factors in the election-night win.

The young councillor said he will continue to reach out to young adults to try to keep them engaged in the issues, but he admits that it can be difficult to have serious political discussions with people his age. However, he said he is encouraged by the interest his campaign was able to garner amongst younger voters.

Malkinson admits to having a lot to learn about governance, but his education has already begun, as he sat in the gallery for several of the last regular meetings of council. He said the priorities he would like to keep at the forefront of council include debt reduction and core infrastructure improvements.

An orientation for the newly-elected council will take place this Friday starting at 9 a.m. at City Hall, and the next regular meeting of council is Dec. 5.  

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