Tom Shypitka is a man of many hats. Not only is he your MLA, but Tom is also a volunteer, a husband, a father, an outdoor enthusiast, a sports coach and a former financial advisor. In 2017, he was elected MLA for Kootenay East, and he currently serves as the Official Opposition for Energy and Mines.
Tom’s latter role involves keeping the government accountable to the task of enhancing and
streamlining processes that help to ensure mining and energy, including alternative energy, remain key economic drivers of the B.C. economy. Believing that a true balance between the environment and the economy can be obtained, he’s for industry and the people employed by it.
Ironically, politics weren’t Tom’s first pick. Born and raised in Cranbrook, B.C., Tom’s early aspirations directed him toward a career in finance. To support himself through college, Tom took on a summer job at Teck Coal’s Line Creek operation in the Elk Valley. He later started DJing at parties and eventually became the owner of a night club.
Tom finished his education through College of the Rockies, but in the 11 years that ensued, he owned several night clubs and pubs in Cranbrook, including Finnegan’s on Ice at Western Financial Place and Jughead’s Nite Club. Eventually, Tom circled back to the financial industry and enjoyed a successful career at SunLife Financial.
Over the years, Tom found himself a director on various committees, including the Regional District of East Kootenay board, the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District board and the Central East Kootenay Community Directed Funds Committee. He has also volunteered for several health-based charities and coached minor ball, soccer and curling.
As a kid growing up, Tom was involved in just about every team sport there is. Eventually, he had to choose just one. It was curling, which turned out to be a good choice since Tom represented B.C. three times at a national level, and he played twice at the Brier Canadian championships, narrowly missing out on an opportunity to represent Canada at the Olympics.
In his leisure time, Tom also enjoys camping, snowboarding, cooking, playing guitar and especially hiking with his wife Carrie. They’ve scaled Fisher Peak and many popular hikes throughout the region. The couple have two young kids, Adam and Allie, and a yellow lab. At 56, Tom is learning how to hunt and is passing this Kootenay tradition to his son.
With a desire to make a difference, in 2014, Tom began his foray into politics as a city councillor for Cranbrook, a position he held until deciding to run for MLA – Kootenay East in 2017.
Tom’s vision for the East Kootenay is a region that protects its natural environment while sustaining and stimulating industry, local business and the people who love living, working and playing here.