Extremely humbled and honoured are words Todd Doherty used to describe being elected the member of parliament for Cariboo-Prince George.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” he said. “We worked tirelessly over the last year to make sure we were successful on Monday night. Fortunately we were ready and we hit the ground running Tuesday morning.”
While the Liberal sweep wasn’t the outcome the Conservatives were expecting, there is a silver lining, Doherty said.
“We have four years to build partnerships at home here and strengthen our brand by rebuilding trust in the ranks, not only within our own party, but also across parliamentary ways too.”
Jobs and the economy are important issues for the region, he said.
“We need to diversify and capture opportunities. The challenge is how do we keep our clean air and water and diversify the economy?”
It would be considerably easier if the Conservatives were the ruling party, he said, but regardless it will be his job to figure out the lay of the land, build relationships and collaborate.
“I am committed to making sure people in the region have the tools to be able to accept opportunities and face down the challenges,” he said.
Going into politics was always Doherty’s goal, but he wanted to make sure he had the skillset to make a difference, rather than just be a placeholder.
“That’s not a shot at anybody,” Doherty said of the placeholder reference. “I wear my heart on my sleeve and I bleed the Cariboo. I always have and I want people to have a positive view of our region.”
For 20 years he worked in the aviation business and often promoted the region whether he was in Asia or Europe.
He carried two suitcases, he said.
One for his clothes and one full of promotional brochures.
Doherty and his wife Kelly both grew up in Williams Lake and have four children.
Last week he and Kelly visited Mountview Elementary School where they attended as children.
“I enjoyed visiting the students and hope I’ll be able to visit more schools in the future,” he said.
When he sets up his office in Prince George, which he will share with Conservative MP Bob Zimmer, Doherty said he also wants to be present within the region and available for all residents.
His office will reflect the Cariboo, he added.
“I want local art work, books by our authors and photographs of people like Carey Price who I coached in the Best-Ever Program.”
On Friday Doherty was in Williams Lake and popped in for quick meetings with Mayor Walt Cobb, Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, the Cariboo Regional District Board, and representatives at the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Tsilhqot’in National Government.
He said he hopes to be visiting Williams Lake on a regular basis and plans to coordinate more meetings.
“I want people to know who I am,” he said. “The conversations during the 11-week campaign were great and I look forward to more of them.”
As for Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Doherty said it remains to be seen.
“It will be our job to make sure Prime Minister Trudeau and his team are held accountable every day and their feet held to the fire,” Doherty said. “If you heard me speak along the way during the campaign, I’m about building partnerships for the betterment of all of us. That’s really what I’m looking forward to the most.”