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Municipal councillor seeking Green nod in Capital Region

Central Saanich councillor Adam Olsen announced this morning he's seeking the Green Party nomination to run in Saanich North and the Islands in the May 14, 2013 provincial election.

The 36-year-old councillor had been mulling whether to run as a Green or an independent. "It was one of the two," he said. "The Greens allow for independence in their candidates. There are no whipped votes."

A communications consultant, Olsen worked on Elizabeth May's successful campaign in the overlapping federal riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. "Green has always been my political home if I had one," he said. "I believe in the core principles."

Olsen is married and has two young children. He was born and raised on the Tsartlip First Nation reserve north of Victoria, and his sister Joni Olsen is a Tsartlip band councillor. "I have a strong connection to this territory," Adam Olsen said.

The constituency is currently held by the BC Liberal Party's Murray Coell, who has said he does not plan to run again. The NDP candidate is Gary Holman, who came within 245 votes of beating Coell in the 2009 election.

"I'm excited by the qualities Adam brings to the table," said Green Party leader Jane Sterk. "In 2013 our objective is to get strong candidates throughout British Columbia . . . We're very happy with the Capital Region."

The party recently announced climate scientist Andrew Weaver will run in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Sterk is running against former NDP leader Carole James in Victoria-Beacon Hill and Susan Low is running in Esquimalt-Royal Roads.

A date for the Saanich North and the Islands nomination meeting has not yet been set. Another candidate, Sue Wetmore, has filed papers seeking the nomination, but Sterk said she believes Wetmore may intend to withdraw.

The Greens won't run candidates against incumbent independent MLAs Bob Simpson and Vicki Huntington, but will otherwise have close to a full slate, said Sterk.

Olsen said if he wins the nomination he plans to step down from Central Saanich council, which already needs to hold a by-election to replace Terry Siklenka who recently resigned.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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