CANDIDATE PROFILE: Healthcare, economy and education the focus for local NDP candidate
An Abbotsford school trustee with a professional background in accounting is hoping to convince local voters he should represent Abbotsford-Mission after the May 14 election.
Preet Rai secured the BC NDP nomination earlier this year, and opened his campaign office on First Avenue in Mission last Sunday. The open house featured a speech from party president Moe Sihota and about 300 people showed up throughout the day, said Rai.
Born and raised in India where Rai earned his chartered accountant designation, he and his family immigrated to Scotland in 1992, and then came to Canada in 1995.
The married father of three currently works as an auditor with the provincial Ministry of Finance, and has been spending time in Mission nearly daily to acquaint himself with this end of the riding and its residents.
Rai said he’s been doing some door-knocking and residents are telling him that it’s time for a change. People are upset with the state of Mission Memorial Hospital — especially the lack of a maternity ward and cardiologist.
Among other issues, Rai said raw log exports, healthcare and education are top of his list of concerns. Rai also said if elected he would focus on the economy through encouraging more people to shop local, and potentially, seeing if it’s financially feasible to get large employers such as Fraser Health Authority and Mission Public Schools to purchase items, such as food, locally.
Transportation also ranks high, and the NDP candidate wants to find ways to increase the frequency of West Coast Express trains, and ensure Lougheed Highway is four-laned all the way from Maple Ridge to Mission.
Rai is partway through his second term as a trustee, and said that over the past number of months, he was approached by “lots of community organizations and leaders” asking that he run.
Starting this Monday, he will be taking a one-month unpaid leave from school board, and from his full-time job to focus on the election.
For more information visit preetrai.bcndp.ca, call 604-820-8891, or visit the campaign office at 33128 First Ave.