Lesa Semmler says she is running for office this fall, hoping to take the Inuvik-Twin Lakes seat in the October 1st territorial election.

The position is open after four-term MLA and finance minister Robert C. McLeod announced he won’t run for re-election.

Semmler told MyYellowknifeNow she is running for the position at a Native Women’s Association of the NWT press conference on the final report of the inquiry into missing and murdered women and girls.

“We represent half the population, we should be able to bring forward these calls to justice,” she says, referencing the 231 calls the inquiry made to end a genocide against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. “We should be acting on them, we should be protecting them, but when we have a male-dominated government, it’s hard to make them understand, and it’s hard to make this a priority.”

Semmler was part of the National Family Advisory Circle during the national inquiry. As a registered nurse, Semmler worked in the nursing field for 20 years. She has also held leadership roles with the Inuvik District Education Authority and for the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

“The only way we’re going to make change, is if we have more women running for office – run for community leadership, council, education councils. We need more women running at the higher leadership,” she says. “As women and girls, we know what’s priority, what keeps the family together. We’re the glue.”