Priscilla Omulo vies for a seat in Port Coquitlam
By Katie Czenczek, News Editor
Municipal elections are just around the corner, and Priscilla Omulo wants to encourage students to get out there and vote.
October 20 is when voters all across the province can pick out their council members and mayors who will best represent them in the municipal elections. If people are out of the country or otherwise unable to vote on that daythere are advance voting dates on October 10, 13, and 17.
Priscilla Omulo, who graduated with a BA in psychology while attending Douglas College, said in an interview with the Other Press that what inspired her to run for council were the families she met while working at non-profits who were separated due to being unable to find affordable housing in Surrey.
“With my understanding of what it’s like for low-income families who may not be working, who may have mental health issues, or addictions, a number of children, but then adding in those other pieces that there is some discrimination there, some lack of understanding that everyone deserves to rent with dignity and respect, and I don’t think that’s taken into consideration with rentals,” she said.
Omulo has worked at various non-profits over the last 10 years, most recently working as an Outreach Counselor with Xyolhemeylh, the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society. It was through this experience that she wanted to call to attention the various issues that arise out of the housing crisis, she said.
“I think that a lot of people talk about affordable housing and subsidized housing as being key issues, but I do honestly think that there’s a lot of discrimination and racism in housing that people don’t recognize,” she said.
It was through Omulo’s experiences at Douglas that she said laid the groundwork for her being ready to take on politics.
“A huge part of why I got involved started at Douglas,” she said. “I was a part of the students’ union at Douglas. We were a part of the U-Pass campaign, so we did a lot of lobbying for that, and it came in when we were in office. Learning the skills then has helped me now. Take as much as you can for Douglas—and what it has to offer—because not only does it improve your campus life, but when you broaden it and see the rest of the world, it’ll teach you so much more than what you will get from the books in a classroom.”
Omulo also said that she wanted to not only encourage students to vote, but she also wanted students to know that municipal elections have the ability to affect housing laws, where transit stops will be located, and roadways.
“One thing that the city can work on is where the bus stops are going to go, we can look into putting forward rental caps that are based off of the tenants’ income, not the market value of a condo,” she said. “It’s really important for college students to vote, and also to encourage others to vote. It’s not just that it affects your day-to-day life, but we are blessed here to have the democratic process that others may not even get to do.”