Porter Creek North
Standing in front of the Porter Creek Mall, Teslin Tlingit Council member Francis van Kessel launched her campaign to win the Yukon NDP nomination in Porter Creek North ahead of this year's territorial election.
The born and raised Yukoner's campaign is van Kessel's first foray into elected politics, although she knew from a young age that positive change was necessary.
"I have always known that Francis van Kessel had a bright future, and I am proud to stand by her side as she takes this important step in her life," said former Teslin Tlingit Council Chief and MLA Sam Johnston. "Yukon will be well served by Francis as it deliberates on the solutions to our most challenging problems."
Growing up was not always easy for van Kessel as her family struggled with the cost of living and inequality. However, she was also inspired by leaders who dared to believe in a brighter future.
"Growing up in Teslin, my family was not well-off. My parents had to work like crazy to make ends meet, and even then it was a struggle," said van Kessel. "I was also inspired by strong leaders like Audrey McLaughlin, who broke trail as a political leader."
For van Kessel, addressing poverty requires a comprehensive review of food security and a living wage for Yukoners. As general manager at the Whitehorse Days Inn, she has put these ideas to practice by planting vegetables in the flower boxes outside her hotel and ensuring that her staff are paid as fairly as possible.
"Change starts with one person. But while I have already put some of my ideas into practice myself, I see so much positive potential in looking at ways to expand these good ideas across the territory," she added. "I want Yukon to be a more prosperous place for the next generation, and as a member of a Yukon NDP government I know we can make it happen."