In 2008, Lorne Kusugak beat the incumbent, Levinia Brown, by a large margin in Rankin Inlet South-Whale Cove. He spent his first term in office as a cabinet minister, ending up as Government House Leader and the Minister of Community and Government Services. His sole challenger this time is Alexander Sammurtok, a political newcomer.
Lorne Kusugak, 53, says he’s running again because there’s still work to do, and because “there needs to be some consistency within government.”
Kusugak worked for 17 years with CBC Radio in Rankin Inlet. He spent five years as executive director with the Kivalliq Inuit Association, and then worked as CEO at the Nunavut Implementation and Training Council. He was Rankin Inlet’s mayor for six years before he was elected MLA.
Housing and education remain the big issues for Kusugak, but he’s also paying attention to local needs. He says Rankin Inlet needs a facility that offers long-term care to the growing number of elders. He also wants to see a medical boarding home that can house patients from the region who travel to Rankin for medical appointments.
This is the first territorial election for Alexander Sammurtok, 60. He grew up in Chesterfield Inlet, and moved to Rankin at age 16 looking for a job.
Sammurtok earned his plumber’s ticket after high school and worked with the governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for 26 years in all. He was also once mayor of Whale Cove, and is part of the Rankin Inlet co-op board.
He retired in January, and says he’s running in this election “to speak for the people.” If elected, Sammurtok wants to work towards more on-the-job training for young people. He also wants to see a 24-hour care home for elders. And he’ll be listening to his constituents to see what other issues are on people’s minds.