A lifelong resident of Kleefeld is running as the Green Party candidate for La Verendrye in the October 3rd provincial election.
Twenty-four-year-old Riley Unger, who attended Steinbach Regional Secondary School, says his first experience with politics was probably in grade nine when his teacher took the class on a field trip to the polling station to watch him vote. Then, last year, Unger started taking political studies classes and says he really enjoyed them. He says those classes became a steppingstone, cementing his interest in politics.
Unger admits he is running a smaller campaign, but says he supports the values of the Green Party of Manitoba. Unger says one of the big issues in our province today is the proposal by Sio Silica to extract sand east of Anola. He says it is important that Manitoba has a party that represents the green aspects of our society.
"It's kind of sad to say that we need a party to kind of represent the green aspects of our society," he says. "But that's kind of the fact of the matter right now."
Meanwhile, Unger says he personally feels there is a good chance that this election will see the first-ever Green Party MLA elected in Manitoba. Earlier this summer, party Leader Janine Gibson announced that she is running in Wolseley, rather than her home constituency of La Verendrye, suggesting her party wanted its strongest candidate to run in its most winnable riding.
"If it does happen that will be exciting," he says. "If not this election, then next one for sure."
Unger says no matter what happens on election day, the experience for him is already considered a success. He says going into the campaign, his goal was to get experience and learn what campaigning for an election is all about. As for the Green Party of Manitoba, Unger says October 3rd will be a success if they can get at least one candidate elected or if they see support grow for the party.
"If all of our candidates right now got seven to 12 per cent of the votes, I would say that would be a pretty good success too," notes Unger. "It kind of shows that Manitobans are willing to vote green."
According to Unger, the reaction towards his candidacy has so far been really good. Unger notes he is hoping to gain experience in provincial politics and maybe one day in federal politics as well.
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