Dear Editor:

Yes, politics do matter. More than that, its the people directly involved with politics our elected officials who can and do make a difference in our everyday lives.

And so, I was very pleased when I found out former Invermere mayor Mark Shmigelsky was running for KootenayColumbia MP for the NDP.

At the relatively young age of 40, Shmigelsky already has 15 years of political experience under his belt, including nine as mayor. As a former director on the Regional District East Kootenay, he also has first-hand experience dealing with issues affecting our entire riding. He has two young children, just as I do, and I know that long-term sustainability including the health, environment and economy of our entire region are some of his top priorities.

More importantly for me personally is that I met Mark on several occasions when working as a photojournalist for Kootenay Business magazine. Mark was always respectful, diligent, informed, passionate and genuine and always, it seemed to me, with the best interests of local residents in mind.

And finally, Mark really listens. I have had the chance to speak to many of our elected officials over the past several years, and there is nothing more frustrating than expressing an opinion only to have that opinion dismissed if it doesnt align with that persons (or their partys) own view. I truly believe Mark will represent the people of Kootenay-Columbia riding with the best interests of all residents in mind. Go and talk to him he will listen.

While Im not often one to share how I cast my ballot on voting day, this time I have no problem letting it be known that I will be checking the box beside the name Mark Shmigelsky.

Jeff Cooper