A young man is going to get a first-hand look at how local government works in the coming months as the alternate for Regional District of Central Kootenay Area D Director Aimee Watson.
Jace Lamoureux was chosen by Watson recently to act as the alternate director for Area D.
“He’s super keen, ready to work and has interest,” said Watson. “As a young adult that grew up in Howser, he knows Area D well.”
Lamoureux, 18, is a pre-med student at Selkirk College, and will be focusing on health issues among his first responsibilities as an alternate director. Watson has asked him to represent her on local health organization boards, as well as assist her with newsletters, updates, and fill in for her on various duties.
“For example, later this month I’ll be reading a statement for her about the Kaslo Public Library, at an event they’re holding,” says Lamoureux. “I’ve also been given the opportunity to explore other areas I have personal interest in. I wanted to get into health care. So I’ll be sitting for her in the Kaslo Health Care Select Committee and West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board meetings.”
Lamoureux’s days are already pretty full, especially as a student in a pre-med program. But he says he’s confident he can manage the workload.
“Time management is a very useful skill,” he says. “And at the end of the day, I still have a few hours of free time in the evenings. It’s just a matter of sitting down and getting work done in an efficient manner without getting distracted.”
It’s not the youth’s first foray into the political realm. Last year he convinced Kaslo Village council to add a non-voting youth member to the municipal government. Kaslo council is now in the recruiting process to bring a high school student into the position.
He also spent his last year in high school on the student council, and as a youth delegate on the School District 8 school board. That helped build his interest in public policy.
“It can be a tedious process for sure, but it was cool to see the actual force that drives the policies, rules and bylaws,” he says.
His interest in government grew as he watched a fellow classmate work to get a Pride sidewalk installed in Kaslo.
“I watched how frustrating it was for them to have to go through a very long process of obtaining grant money, and going through several stages of just trying to speak to people and get it passed, and motions,” he says. “And I thought, you know, if we had more youth in positions like this, we might be able to speed up the process and clear some of the bureaucratic hurdles that stop positive change from happening.”
Lamoureux says he’s looking forward to learning more about how local government can affect health care.
“In my program here at Selkirk we get to meet doctors and practitioners, and get to hear their ‘front end’ half of it,” he says. “But we don’t get a lot of insight into the back end, the funding, and who makes those decisions that force health care professionals to behave in a certain manner or use limited tools or what have you.”
His ultimate goal, however, is to inspire other local youth to step up and get involved.
“You know, at the end of the day there’s only so much I can do. But that inspiration of others – it shows other youth it doesn’t have to be just people with a huge amount of education; it doesn’t have to be people with many years of experience making these decisions. Everyone matters, and it’s youth’s future we’re talking about, so we need a seat at table.”