Newly appointed Prince George Mackenzie Conservative candidate Terry Rysz said he plans to move back to northern B.C. regardless if he's elected this spring.
Rysz, who is currently a member of council for the District of Sicamous, lived the central interior for 30 years but has been away for the last decade.
"My intentions are to go back north," he said. "I've been away for 10 years and I have a lot contacts and friends and family in that area and I certainly miss the north."
A former owner of an automotive and industrial supply company based in Vanderhoof, Rysz lived all over the region during his time in the north, including four years in Prince George. Eventually Rysz sold his local businesses and bought a pub in Revelstoke. He is a one-term councillor in Sicamous, winning election in 2011.
When the writ drops for the provincial election, Rysz said he will take a leave of absence from Sicamous council and if he's elected in Prince George-Mackenzie he'll resign his council seat. If he's unsuccessful in his provincial bid, Rysz said he will serve out his council term before moving back to Prince George.
Rysz said he's held conservative political views for most of his life and is a longtime member of the federal Conservative party and until recently sat as a member of the board of directors of the Okanagan--Shuswap riding association. He's been a member of the provincial party for about a year.
Despite not currently living near the riding, Rysz said he was attracted to running in Prince George-Mackenzie because of his business experience in the area. His Vanderhoof company expanded to include locations in Prince George, Fort St. James and Valemount at its peak in the mid 1990s.
"The Prince George Mackenzie area is something that I'm quite familiar with, not only from a business standpoint, but also from an outdoors standpoint because I'm a hunter and a fishermen," he said.
Rysz plans on being in Prince George on Thursday and said between now and the election will spend as much time as possible in the riding.
"I'm going to be working 7/24 on this," he said. "I'm not a 9-to-5 guy, I'll do whatever it takes."
Liberal incumbent Pat Bell is not seeking re-election due to a medical condition. The Liberals are about to nominate former RCMP officer Mike Morris as their candidate, while labour lawyer Bobby Deepak is representing the NDP.
"I think we have a very, very good chance," he said. "I'm certainly a strong supporter of John Cummins, I believe in our leadership."