FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – A top priority for Sarah MacDougall, a Fort St. John by-election candidate, is assisting in the recruitment and retention of workers if elected.

“We are lacking, especially in health care professionals in this town. While I understand healthcare is a provincial mandate, there are so many things that a city could do to try to make it more attractive and try to integrate newcomers into the community so that they want to plant roots here,” says MacDougall.

MacDougall worked in environmental public health at Northern Health for 13 years, holding three different positions, before stepping away last year. Her responsibilities included working with local businesses, writing policies and procedures, and leading different committees.

She originally arrived in the city for work, thinking she would stay for a couple of years, but she fell in love.

“I want others to fall in love with [Fort St. John] the way I did.”

MacDougall and her husband Scott relocated to the city in 2007 from Nova Scotia after she graduated from Cape Breton University. The MacDougall’s have established a multi-generation family in the city with their four daughters and Sarah’s parents, who also moved to Fort St. john.

Over the course of her election campaign, MacDougall plans to release more detailed information and ideas through her Facebook page on how she plans on tackling her priorities. MacDougall’s priorities, if elected, also include ideas and initiatives to support local families, businesses, and non-profits, along with fiscal responsibility.

“I’ve had a budget since I was like 24 years old. I just like numbers. I like budgeting, and I think that’s always useful on a council where you’re spending taxpayer dollars.”

MacDougall has been a Totem Preschool board member for four years and volunteers with the school and her church. Her interest in politics began after serving on council in her final year of University. She hopes to offer a different perspective to the council chambers if elected.

“I’m not so young, but I’m young-ish. I do have some young children, and I’m a female. So that definitely gives me a bit of a different perspective, and just my experience in the types of jobs that I’ve held.”

As of April 6th, five candidates have submitted their nomination papers to run for an empty council seat after councillor Becky Grimsrud resigned in January. Along with MacDougall, Tom Whitton, Jim Lequiere, Jon Gosselin, and Trystan Jones are also running for council.

Those wishing to toss their hats into the ring have until April 9th at 4 p.m. to submit their Candidate Nomination Package.

The by-election will take place on May 15th at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. Advanced voting is expected to take place on May 5th and May 12th.