With the byelection quickly approaching, it is important for voters to become familiar with the people that are running to fill late Coun. Claire Newman’s position at city council.

Born and raised in Merritt, Yvette Baxter is one of the four candidates running for city councillor.

Baxter has decided to put her name in the poll once again, the first time being during the 2022 Civic Elections.

“I decided to run for city council probably right after the floods,” she said. “I thought maybe if I became a city councillor, I can help the City of Merritt keep going forward and moving forward to the future because I want to raise my children here. This is where I grew up.”

On running for city council for the second time, Baxter said that she still believes that she can help the community.

With a longtime experience in early childhood education, Baxter highlights the importance of youth engagement so Merritt can keep prospering.

“They should be seeing themselves in this town, not feeling ‘let’s leave this town’, because this town needs to have a future. If everybody wants to leave, it’s not going to have a future,” she added. “So we need to keep moving forward and we got to involve the younger generation, so they can have a passion and love this town just as much as I do.”

Baxter said that a few of her priorities include working more closely with the local Indigenous bands, an entertainment venue such as a theatre – so youth and the community can get more involved – and working on making sure that residents feel secure.

“People are still scared that the water treatment plant is not going to be sustainable for long, because a lot of the infrastructure is deteriorating and we are building more buildings,” Baxter added. “If we have another flood, will it be safe? And a lot of people are coming to me and they’re like these are the issues.”

She added that whoever takes the seat will need to catch up on “what has already been passed, what’s going to be passed and what is already in the process.”

“You’re gonna have to hit the ground running and figure out where you can go,” Baxter said.

Baxter assured that if elected, she will work for everyone in the community.

“You have to do what’s best for the majority, so that Merrittonians can keep moving forward. So you can’t vow ‘ok, this person didn’t vote for me’, you have to always think about what’s best for the community and what’s best to keep moving forward,” she said.

In her point of view, Merritt is one of the smartest communities she’s ever seen and will be able to make a good choice for themselves.

“I love this community. It’s part of my heart and I swear it’s half my DNA. Every single time I crossed over the hill and I see the lights all over the town I’m home. This is where I belong.”

The Herald will be interviewing all candidates prior to the byelection on April 20.