Martin Runge is a teacher at Correlieu Secondary School and also co-owns a business in town, Barkerville Fudge & Bumblebee Boutique, with his wife Julie-Anne.
He and his family have lived in Quesnel since 1991, and they opened Barkerville Fudge more than 10 years ago, with the shop first located in Barkerville Historic Town & Park, and later moving to a location downtown Quesnel.
“I’ve been running businesses for most of my life. Right from when I was a kid, I used to do lawn care stuff. I was always doing something,” he says, which likely has informed his passion for his job with School District 28, teaching business at the high school level.
Runge says he is running for council in the hopes of making a difference for local residents.
“I believe in a strong, progressive, and vibrant city that strives to meet the needs of a diverse population base; a city that is progressive and supportive of private, and public, and non-profit business ventures; and a city that offers current and future residents a safe, fun, and exciting place to call home,” he writes in an email to the Observer.
Runge is president of the British Columbia Business Educators Association (BCBEA), and he’s been involved with the provincial association for 10 or 15 years, he says. As president, he represents the association in the Western Business Education Association, which includes members from B.C. and in the U.S., from California to Hawaii.
He also sits on the Shiraoi Twinning Society, which he says is new for him – he joined this year, when his daughter was chosen to go on exchange, attending high school in Japan for six months and living with a local family.
“And I do all sort of things within the school. I teach business, careers and info tech,” he says.
Runge says his experience in all of these roles – from his BCBEA work to his business – have given him experience working with committees and groups locally, provincially and internationally.
Some of the traits Runge believes will help him excel as a city councillor include his openness and approachable demeanour, as well as his questioning nature, ability to build relationships and progressive attitude.
“I want to be involved because – for example – when you hear about a bylaw that you may or may not like, to make a difference, you have to be involved,” he says.
“I want to make sure we have progression, and that it’s good for the people that are here and good for newcomers too.”
One group Runge would like to champion if elected are volunteers.
“Volunteers… are getting tougher and tougher to entice to do things and, as a town, it is really important to support them,” he notes.
But he says choosing one or two issues to run on is too narrow.
“There are too many things happening in the city that keep changing, whether it’s housing situations or revitalization or whatever,” he explains.
“I want to make a difference, knowing that you can’t please everybody.”