Well, it is time to vote again. For those of you who may not know your Yvonnes from your Toms or what a Randal or Keith is, we are here for you.

No political rhetoric, just some quick questions to attach a human being to all the beautiful signs that line our many roadways. We posed the same 5 questions to all 4 Kootenay East candidates and will publish them as we get them back.

Today we will start it all off with Tom Shypitka The BC Liberal Party candidate for Kootenay East.

1. You have a free afternoon in Cranbrook, the sun is shining, the blue jays shrieking and nothing on your schedule for the next 5 hours, what do you do?

I'm a family guy and love going out with my family. A drive to Horseshoe lake to see the frogs and turtles are what my kids like to do. I like to BBQ so taking a BBQ and cooking up a couple hot dogs or burgers would be part of that as well.

2. What hidden gem do you want people to know about Cranbrook?

Well, there are many gems around us with our Symphony of the Kootenays, Canadian Museum for Rail Travel, Fort Steele, rails to trails, many lakes, but the gem that is being polished up right now is our refurbishing of Idlewild Park. This will be a "must see" for any traveler and residents alike. This was an initiative set out by our current council which I sit on and I am excited to see it completed.

3. Walk around Elizabeth Lake, mini golf at Elizabeth Lake Lodge, or have coffee with someone named Elizabeth?

I always like meeting new people and I don't know many Elizabeth's so I'm drawn to that one. However, as I've said I'm a family guy and we mini golf at Elizabeth Lake Lodge quite regularly and walk Elizabeth Lake to look for turtles and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

4. What sets Cranbrook apart from other towns in your riding, what makes it great, how could it improve?

All the people in this riding are great so I don't want to say Cranbrook is unique to that. The affordability is something quite unique. Cranbrook has the lowest cost of living in the province. That is unique because we have great amenities here like a regional hospital, college, airport, a WHL team (how many cities can say that).

How do we improve it? Shelter and transitional housing is one of the things I would like to see happen. I sit on the Salvation Army Community Council that addresses these types of issues so I believe this will happen sooner than later. Major Kirk and Linda Green have been doing an amazing job and should be commended more often for their work.

5. We know that you love the East Kootenay – otherwise you wouldn't be running for office – what makes this area so special to you?

I'm part of 5 generations to call Cranbrook and the Elk Valley our home. I have traveled up and down this Valley my entire life and have many friends from Elkford to Moyie. I was married at Fort Steele, I camp at Koocanusa, I recreate in Grasmere, I was a member of the Fernie Curling Club, and have hundreds of clients in the East Kootenay. My children were born here and I will probably live the rest of my life here. The people that live here are the most down to earth, hard working people I know. Coal miners, foresters, truck drivers, teachers, business people... real salt of the earth people that all live here because of its beauty and low pressure life style.

Thanks Tom for indulging us with a little snapshot into who you are. All the best in the final days before May 9.