John Stanley is perhaps well-known in the city as a boxing and kickboxing trainer and coach through Stanley Boxing and Fitness, a business he co-owns with Scott Thomson.
But Stanley has now decided to step into a different ring altogether: the political one.
Stanley has announced his intentions to run in the Frame Lake constituency for the upcoming territorial general election this October. He made it official earlier this week, but stopped by the Yellowknifer office on Thursday to give a brief overview of what his campaign is all about.
He said standing for election is something he’s always thought about doing and now is the right time.
“I’ve thought about it for several years and I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to throw my hat in the ring and see what happens,” he said. “I’ve got a family now — my daughter is two years old — and I’ve always felt obligated to the community because it changed my life.”
Stanley moved to the NWT in 2010 with, in his words, “basically nothing”. He opened up the original gym location on Old Airport Road before moving to the current location on 54 Avenue.
He said one of the big reasons he’s jumped in has to do with serving the public.
“At the end of the day, I see a lot of politicians who have the impression that they govern the people instead of governing for the people,” he said. “As someone who came to the community with nothing and who has been able to build their life and have that community support, I just want to give back.”
Stanley said he’s spent the last year talking with groups and residents about his intentions and getting their thoughts on certain topics, which has helped form some of what his campaign will be all about.
“I’m not someone who will take things lightly — if I’m going to get involved, I’m going to do the research, take the time and find an answer,” he said. “It’s the opinion of the people that matters at the end of the day.”
Why did Stanley choose Frame Lake?
“I still have a lot of friends who live there,” he said. “One of the people who asked me to run lives in Frame Lake and I feel a bond with people who live there.”
One area of the riding Stanley said he plans to focus on is Northlands; the entire park is located within the consituency boundaries. He thinks a lot of residents in Northlands weren’t inspired to vote in the last election in 2019 and that’s one place he wants to engage.
“Everyone talks about the cost of living and that’s always an issue, no matter who you talk to,” he said. “Housing is another big one. We’re trying to encourage people to come and live and work in the territory, especially with issued in health care staffing. But we can’t provide people with the basics right now. Child care is another one — I’ve spoken with day home owners who are thinking about closing it down and that’s with them having a waitlist of around 50 people.
“People can’t get child care and if you can’t someone to take care of your kids, you can’t work. If you can’t work, what’s the point in coming here? You can’t get child care, you can’t find a place to live and if you do, it’s going to be expensive. Those are all intertwined and we have to find a way to fix all of that.”
Stanley knows it’s still early and no one is thinking about the election in October, but he said he just wants people to know he’s in the mix.
“It’s up to the people who they want to speak for them,” he said. “I can only promise that I’ll do my best if I’m elected, I do have a lot of life experience and we’ll see how it goes.”