Rose or thorn, MLA made an impact
Tireless advocate for the community. Hardworking. Compassionate. Uncompromised integrity.
All were words used to describe Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger after his announcement Wednesday he would retire from politics after the end of his term next year.
On the flip-side, the 16-year political veteran has been criticized as a bully, called Foghorn for his loud, repetitive heckling in the legislature and tarred with even more unkind terms. He’s even received death threats.
He was unapologetic for what others saw as shortcomings in him — a straight-talker who never left you wondering what he thought about an issue; he’d hold little back and then give you more.
Case in point: a call from The Daily News Tuesday to get his comment about jail overcrowding drew led to his rather bold assertion that legalizing marijuana would relieve the problem.
A less confident person would blanch at putting out such a controversial view, but not Krueger.
In short, Krueger was not a person who could be ignored and the voters saw value in his abilities, having elected him time after time, in two different ridings (he jumped to Kamloops-South Thompson to in the 2009 election, allowing former Kamloops mayor Terry Lake to run in the north).
In the last election, he earned the allegiance of 12,548 voters, with his nearest competition, NDP candidate Tom Friedman, some 4,416 votes behind him.
From a media perspective, he was readily accessible and always had something colourful to say. No careful scripting for him, which is a refreshing change in a world filled with people who talk a lot but say little.
“I never entered into this in the spirit of offending people,” he said during an interview for his candidate profile in the 2009 election. “I want to make things better.”
Krueger can be accused of many things, but unlike others in the political world who are criticized for being dishonest or putting on airs, he called it as he saw it and we commend him for the good he did in this riding over nearly two decades.