Having just turned 21 earlier in October, some may think Jessica McCallum-Miller is too young to be an effective political leader.
But McCallum-Miller takes exception to such an assessment as she makes a first bid for Terrace city council, touting herself as the voice of youth and change in Terrace and area, and noting her experience goes back to when she was head of student council at her high school, Parkside Secondary.
McCallum-Miller has already won a seat as director for Area C, the rural area north of Terrace stretching down to Lakelse Lake and beyond, on the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine board, winning it through acclamation because she was the only candidate.
Born and raised in Terrace, McCallum-Miller keeps busy with her work as artist and dispatcher for Kalum Kabs. She is also the youth representative of the Metis Society, board member of Terrace Healthy Communities committee, sits on the city’s youth advisory committee and was part of the 24-Hour Community Centre Board where she helped in 2011 to organize a hunger awareness campaign to support hungry youth.
“We are stricken with poverty,” she said of her main drive to be a city councillor. “Seeing it change and worsen for people here made me really want to change things. I have grown up in this town, I have been part of the change happening in the community.”
As an artist, she says she promises to brings a creative flare to her public role and has many ideas about promoting alternative energy projects.
However she says she is firmly rooted in the material world with strong interest in public works.
She admits to having a “knack for plumbing”, and enjoyed her time learning about water pressure and water mains when she volunteered with the regional district.
“Water filtration has always interested me,” she said.
The candidate said she will focus on both promoting more affordable housing but also making sure that current housing in Terrace is safe.
After recent fires in housing on the south side, McCallum-Miller said safety would be a priority. “I want to make sure there are fire extinguishers, that there are fire escapes, that every home is made safe and secure and of course affordable and sustainable housing.
“I’m not saying I know everything, but I am willing to learn, and to be part of the change that is happening.”
McCallum-Miller was nominated by William Jay Griffiths and Carol-Ann Margaret Schmidt.