Photo by Photo Submitted
Photo by Photo Submitted
Clarke – a first-time Yukon Party candidate – won Porter Creek Centre on Monday.
She’s the first Filipina MLA for the Yukon... breaking both race and gender barriers in the process.
For half the evening, her victory looked unlikely as single-term incumbent Paolo Gallina led the polls and was inching toward retaining the seat for the Liberals.
However, Clarke steadily and inexorably gained ground on him, seizing the lead for good by approximately 10 p.m.
By that time, Clarke had come and gone at her party’s election night headquarters.
“I suddenly realized I didn’t have my husband with me and I wanted to share the moment with him,” a somewhat-sheepish Clarke told the Star Tuesday morning.
Despite the initial numbers, she said she remained certain she would triumph.
“I’m really happy about the win,” said Clarke, best known for her lengthy presidency of the territory’s Filipino association.
“I had a feeling I would win. It’s time, and it’s historical.”
Clarke said she believed the advance polls and special ballots went in her favour, and that was the reason for the disparity in numbers early in the count.
“I’m really honoured,” she said. “I’ve had congratulations from many Filipinos and people in the neighbourhood. I feel like I’ve inspired people. It’s as if I can do it, so anybody can do it.”
Filipinos make up approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the Yukon’s population,” Clarke said.
“It’s past time they had a representative to lead the way and be a role model for those people,” she added.
Clarke said she’s lived in Whitehorse for 26 years, and has always played as large a role as possible during that time.
“I have so much to offer,” she said. “I have a lot of experience at many things, including a non-government organization.”
As for her priorities, Clarke said, as with her party, she’s stuck in a wait-and-see mode as the dust settles over the Vuntut Gwitchen riding where the Liberal and NDP candidates are currently tied.
Settling the issue will require a recount and possibly more, and the outcome will affect the makeup of the legislature.
Until that situation is sorted out, all of the parties are trapped in limbo, as the composition of the legislature can’t be finalized.
“We just have to wait and see,” she said.
In the November 2016 election, city councillor Jocelyn Curteanu – also of Filipino ancestry – contested Copperbelt South for the Liberals, taking 425 votes compared to Yukon Party victor Scott Kent’s 449.
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