Trudy Klassen spent 20 years running a successful logging company in Prince George with her husband.
Klassen said her top priority, if elected, would be attracting industries and businesses to Prince George, to provide a stable tax base for the city and provide opportunities for young people to stay in the city and build careers and families.
“We’ve lived here since 1994 and we’ve had to find new friend groups two or three times, as people have moved away to seek better opportunities elsewhere,” Klassen said. “We love the city and were sad to see them go, and they were sad to go because Prince George is such a special and unique place. (But) we don’t have enough opportunities for careers and business growth.”
Klassen said speeding up the approval process for proposed new business and residential developments is essential to attract investment.
“There has to be leadership from the mayor and council that we are open for business,” Klassen said. “It is business that will provide the taxbase for the things we want to and need.”
The only way to cover the rising costs of providing city services is to raise taxes on home and land owners, or to expand the tax base by attracting new businesses and residents.
After four years writing an opinion column in the Citizen, and decades serving on volunteer boards for arts and children-focused organizations, Klassen said she’s prepared to “take the heat” from residents opposed to new development in their area.
Part of making Prince George a welcoming place for business is making downtown a welcoming and safe place for shoppers and workers, she said. That will take a collaborative approach, working with the diverse social service agencies in the city.
“It seems like there are more (social) service agencies than people living on the streets,” Klassen said. “Any city that has been successful in dealing with homelessness in their downtowns has gotten those agencies working together.”
Klassen said she grew up in a very conservative Mennonite community where new ideas were not welcome, especially from women.
“It was stifling. It killed innovation, it killed hope,” she said. “And yet here I am.”
Klassen said they lesson she learned from having that upbringing is that you need to embrace new ideas and be willing to change.
“We have to be a city of hope for young people,” she said. “I think Prince George has so much potential. Let’s be the Northern Capital that leads the way in building the vast potential of the north.”
For more information, visit her campaign website.