The NDP’s Roly Russell was named Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 26. The role is a new one, part of several new ministerial designations within Premier John Horgan’s new cabinet, Russell said.
Russell, who won the riding of Boundary-Similkameen in last month’s provincial election, said he was “thrilled” to enter his new role.
“One of the pieces that I made clear during my campaign is that we need some structural support in the government to apply the rural lens to government programs and policy,” he told The Grand Forks Gazette.
Russell said he will draw both on his past experience on the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, where he represented rural Grand Forks, and his academic background in ecology and biodiversity.
“I think the fascinating part about coming into politics from a science background is being able to build policy on an evidence-based platform.”
Two days after he was sworn into the legislature, Russell said he plans to remain in his native Grand Forks throughout the pandemic.
“In the near term, during the current or next sitting of the legislature, I fully expect to participate in that virtually.
In the longer term, I’m sure they’ll be plenty of opportunity to be in Victoria, but not enough that I’ll have to move there.”
Russell holds a Ph.D in marine ecology from Oregon State University.