A family legacy of political leadership has taken root in a new generation in Taloyoak.
Chuck Pizzo-Lyall was elected mayor on Oct. 28. He prevailed over incumbent Simon Qingnaqtuq by a tally of 122-85.
Pizzo-Lyall said his father Charlie Lyall and uncle Bob Lyall, both political veterans in the Kitikmeot, encouraged him to make a run for the mayor’s seat.
“It’s in my blood,” Pizzo-Lyall said, adding that his mom, educator Gina Pizzo-Lyall, was also a booster. “I had a lot of support behind me.”
He said he was eager to step up after serving two years as a hamlet councillor, a role that he relished.
“I liked it right away,” he said of his decision to get politically involved. “I face a lot of issues every day and I got tired of not doing anything about it. It’s finally time for us young people to step up and get the job done.”
Among the most pressing issues Taloyoak must deal with are homelessness and food insecurity, according to Pizzo-Lyall.
“We see it everyday. It’s one of the major issues we face up here. That’s one of my main priorities,” he said. “I’ve heard of people with overcrowded housing – there’s some people who used to roam the streets all night with nowhere to go… We’re going to have to work pretty closely with the (territorial) government for that and hopefully we can at least get more housing or something done.”
There have been discussions in regards to a homeless shelter but there’s “no finalizations or anything in place right now,” said Pizzo-Lyall.
The community has an integrated strategic plan that will help guide decisions to address those challenges, he added.
Taloyoak’s mayor and council met held their first regular meeting on Nov. 12.
“We’ve got a really good council again this year, and everybody’s really excited to tackle these issues,” Pizzo-Lyall said.
His twin sister Megan has also tested the waters politically. She was the Liberal candidate for Nunavut in the Oct. 21 federal election. She finished second to the NDP’s Mumilaaq Qaqqaq. Chuck watched the race closely.
“She had a good run at it,” he said. “Unfortunately (the outcome) is not what we wanted, but Mumilaaq looks like she’s going to have a pretty strong voice for us too in the House.”
He predicted that Megan will thrive regardless.