Former newspaper publisher and lifelong entrepreneur Don Jaque has added his name to the growing list of individuals planning to run for MLA in Thebacha.
"There are so many things that need to be done in Fort Smith and I feel that I have the skills and the ability to do them," Jaque told Cabin Radio on Friday night, ahead of his public announcement.
Jaque feels the town he has lived in for more than 45 years has been "diminished as a community."
"I would like to work with the community to unite it, strengthen it, and stop the erosion that's taking place," he said.
Key issues Jaque plans to address include the future of Aurora College, the quality of healthcare, the Slave River's slumping banks, and building the local economy through a strengthened private sector and enhanced tourism.
Jaque says his decades running the Northern Journal – formerly the Slave River Journal – have made him intimately familiar with the town's and territory's problems.
"I know of the issues forwards and backwards. Not only do I know the issues, but I have developed a plan on how to turn around the problems," said Jaque.
"I feel driven to work toward those things and to make this community a better place," he said, adding he has presented many ideas to the community in the past.
While the Northern Journal closed in 2016 after a 40-year run, Jaque remains involved in Fort Smith and Yellowknife business ventures.
He has served in volunteer roles with local ski, paddling, and taekwondo clubs, and the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre. Jaque is currently involved in the snowboard club in Fort Smith.
Chief Frieda Martselos of the Salt River First Nation is widely expected to announce her bid to become the next Thebacha MLA in the near future.
Cabin Radio understands Martselos has hired a campaign manager and rented office space for her campaign, while in a letter last week she formalized her intention to step down as Salt River's chief on August 30. An election to replace her will take place on September 16, the letter stated.
Martselos has so far declined to comment on her anticipated run for office.
Cabin Radio will feature extensive interviews with NWT election candidates beginning at the start of September, when nominations officially open. Bookmark our NWT Election 2019 homepage to follow our coverage.