Win may be in her name—but that’s not what’s behind two recent victories for Edmonton’s Janis Irwin.
First, she earned a seat in the legislature as the MLA-elect for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, succeeding the NDP’s Brian Mason.
“The electoral win was one based on a lot of hard work,” she said Wednesday, speaking at the Alberta legislature. “Many, many months in the cold, and dark nights, knocking on doors and pounding the pavement.”
Two days later, the former teacher and government worker was surprised again.
“I was trying to get my life sorted after a hectic campaign and found a lottery ticket in my wallet from March and checked it out at a gas station in my neighbourhood,” she recalled.
“I saw the six figures show up and I was like, ‘Yeah, right.’ So a few people kind of gathered around and the two ladies working at the gas station were super excited.”
One of those employees, Estrella Gantalao, told CTV News, “She just said, ‘Oh my god.’”
“That's a lucky girl because she won the election and at the same time like $100,000,” added co-worker Jun Libero.
But Irwin is quick to clarify: “To be clear, I didn’t win the lottery. I just won $100,000—but it was a huge shock.”
The latter win she attributes to good fortune. The other, she said, was both harder-earned and much sweeter.
“I’m just really focused right now at the task at hand, and that’s serving the constituents of Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood in the best capacity that I can.”
Her colleague, Edmonton-Whitemud MLA-elect Rakhi Pancholi, added, “I can say that she won her campaign because she worked very, very hard and is an excellent representative, so that certainly was well deserved.
“And hey, what a nice little bit of luck on top that she also won the lottery?”
Irwin has yet to receive her winnings, but said she plans to put the cash towards her mortgage and help her niece and nephew pay for school.
With files from Nicole Weisberg