A professional forester and long-time Tolko employee is running for Williams Lake city council.
“My decision to run was thought-filled,” Tom Hoffman told the Tribune. “I want to contribute back to the community and I didn’t take the decision lightly.”
If elected, it will not be his first time entering politics.
When he lived in Northern Alberta he served two terms on town council and two terms on school board.
Hoffman has lived in Williams Lake since 2006 and is currently the manager of external and stakeholder relations for Tolko Industries Ltd.
“In that role my predominant focus is government relations with First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal governments so I’d like to share my time and talents on council and I’d like to be seen as ambassador building relationships for the City.”
Presently he is chair of Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, vice-chair of Northern Development Initiative Trust and previously was a board member for the Association of BC Forest Professionals.
“I am comfortable engaging in healthy discussions and dealing with difficult situations,” Hoffman said. “I’ve played team sports and know how to be a team player and with politics people need to pay attention and move forward collectively rather than as individuals.”
Hoffman listed three main goals he will focus on if elected.
The first is to sustain or grow Williams Lake, which Hoffman said is the main focus of being a community leader.
“After the fires we saw a lot of people leave town and they haven’t come back, coupled with the reduction of allowable annual cuts as a result of the pine beetle,” Hoffman said, noting his vision is foremost to get rid of the stigma attached to being a crime capital of B.C. “We need to identify our niches and strengths and promote those. There are people that are cashing out of Vancouver right now. How do we attract them? The jobs will go where talent wants to be.”
Hoffman sees growing and revitalizing the downtown and working collaboratively with Indigenous communities as a priority, as well as developing more programs at Thompson Rivers University.
A second priority is to be an advocate for ratepayers, he said.
“There’s the advocacy for individuals to council, trying to be an advocate for them and then there’s a role as an advocate from the city to the province, feds and to First Nations and other governments. I think I’m accessible and approachable and I would want to ensure there’s no commitment without involvement. We need to engage with ratepayers and then act as an advocate.”
He listed fiscal responsibility and accountability as his third priority, noting he would like council to find ways to increase revenues and decrease costs.