Teitsma running for re-election
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This article was published 15/08/2019 (1262 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Three years after he was first elected to represent the people of Radisson, James Teitsma is still relishing the opportunity to serve.
“I expected it to be a difficult and unpleasant task, but a necessary one,” said Teitsma, who was elected to the provincial legislature as a Progressive Conservative candidate in 2016. “But to my surprise, I actually enjoy most parts of the job. Especially when I can help people.”
Teitsma, 48, was born in Transcona and has lived in the Radisson area for the past 28 years. He and his wife have six children between three and 21 years of age.
In 1996, Teitsma and seven others started EISI, a small software development company, which grew to employ over 330. Teitsma said he has been pleased that his skills with numbers and in management have been useful in the legislature.
“I’ve worked on the fiscal responsibility committee cabinet, and I’m working right now on the economic growth committee and the regulatory accountability committee,” he said. “We’re looking, basically, at ways to either save the government money or improve services for the same amount of money.”
A resident of the growing West Transcona community, Teitsma said one of his top priorities if re-elected is to continue to advocate for the area.
“This community is changing, and we need to make sure those changing needs are met, that the people in my community are getting what they need,” he said.
The government’s decision to close Concordia Hospital’s ER is one issue that directly affects Radisson.
“I spoke against that within my caucus,” Teitsma said. “Working behind the scenes to have that decision reviewed so that we do have 24/7 urgent care in our community was a pretty significant activity. And it wasn’t myself alone, my fellow MLAs in this area worked on that as well.”
Teitsma is hoping that he can use his managerial background to help improve what he sees as a crisis of morale among frontline health care workers.
“I make a habit of talking to a new frontline worker every week, if I can,” he said. “There are some communication blocks, and that’s a concern to me. When you have happy, motivated, productive workers, you’re going to have good services as a result. One goes with the other. You can legislate all you want, but you can’t alter that unless you address root causes.”
If re-elected, Teitsma would also like to see improvements made to the Child and Family Services system.
“I’m convinced when you take kids out of their home environment, that’s a traumatic event,” he said. “When children are experiencing trauma in the home, we need to make sure they’re not getting further traumatized by that removal. We’re making progress on that front, but we’re not where I’d like to see us yet.”
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112