Manitoba

Winnipeg school board elections attract young candidates

Several Winnipeggers vying for school board trustee positions this fall are touting their youth — they're under the age of 25 — as something that makes them most qualified for the job.
Several Winnipeggers vying for school board trustee positions this fall are touting their youth — they're under the age of 25 — as something that makes them most qualified for the job. 1:51

Several Winnipeggers vying for school board trustee positions this fall are touting their youth — they're under the age of 25 — as something that makes them most qualified for the job.

At least two of the candidates for trustee are 18 years old and fresh out of high school, including Tanjit Nagra, who is running for trustee in the Louis Riel School Division.

"Education is something I've always been passionate about, and I wanted to get involved," she told CBC News on Tuesday. 

Nagra, who is already a council member with the University of Manitoba Students' Union, said the school division's board lacks a youth voice.

"And [as] someone that just recently went through the system herself … I really think I can bring a fresh perspective on that," she said.

Also on the campaign trail is Dakota Kochie, 18, who is running in the River East Transcona School Division.

"I think the biggest thing that I want people to know is that my age shouldn't be a reason that they don't vote for me," he said.

Kochie said besides from graduating from high school just two months ago, he's an athlete, coach and volunteer, and he's passionate about politics.

"Ask anybody and they don't know who their local trustees are," he said. "I believe I can be that face and be that trustee that everyone knows who he is."

In the heart of the city, 23-year-old Kevin Settee is hoping to represent Ward 5 residents on the Winnipeg School Division board of trustees.

"I'm a young aboriginal man, so I want to also be a voice for the aboriginal community," said Settee, who graduated from Gordon Bell High school and now attends the University of Winnipeg.

Settee has been involved in his community, leading medicine walks and engaging youth in anti-violence campaigns.

"We have one of the fastest growing populations, and we're really condensed into this inner city and into West End, central and the North End," he said.

The nomination period for school trustee candidates begins Wednesday. All candidates must file their nomination papers with election officials by Sept. 16.

All three candidates say they hope, at the very least, that their campaigns will encourage more young people to get involved in politics and vote in the Oct. 22 civic election.