The city’s new mayor, Reid Hamer-Jackson — nicknamed “Reider” by friends and family — is scrappy and packs a punch.
Perhaps it is appropriate that the next man to occupy the chair of mayor was an accomplished boxer.
Hamer-Jackson packed a political punch on Saturday, beating three council incumbents and a fourth opponent with his tenacity and persistence in raising concerns about street issues in Kamloops, initially driven by the impacts on his business from Victoria Street West.
However, as tough as he comes, Hamer-Jackson is also described by those who know him as a family man and good neighbor who is always smiling and has a sense of compassion.
KTW sat down with friends, family and fellow Hamer-Jacksoners to get to know the town’s mayor-elect.
Tyrell Hamer-Jackson, 27, described his father as a family man and his biggest role model. Hamer-Jackson has three adult children (Hailey, Ashley and Tyrell) and is married to his wife Lori, who works at Arthur Hatton Elementary School.
The couple raised their family in Westmount, and many relatives also live in Kamloops. The family regularly spent a month in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico during the Christmas holidays.
Tyrell said he was never the tallest or biggest kid, but wanted to play sports, noting that his father had boosted his confidence and supported him.
At age 15, Tyrrell wanted to play lacrosse for the senior A New Westminster Salmonbellies of the Western Lacrosse Association and Hamer-Jackson drove him twice a week, several hours each way, for practices.
Tyrell said his father would wait at the rink and then drive him back to Kamloops, arriving home at 3 a.m. to wake him up for school the next day.
“”He said, ‘If you want to play this game, this is the only way you can do it right now,’ so he’ll help me do it,” Tyrell Hamer-Jackson said. “He’ll give me the tools – I just have to build the house.”
Tyrell now plays professionally for the Vancouver Warriors in the National Lacrosse League and can’t remember a game his dad didn’t attend.
“He’ll go down and then he’ll come back that night or whatever he has to do to make it work, just so he can show his support,” Tyrell said.
The son of Mount Paul Golf Course owner Dan Latin also played for the New Westminster Salmonbellies and the fathers carpooled. Latin said they spent a lot of time riding back and forth and became friends, riding motorcycles together over the years.
“Tenacious,” he said of the Hamer-Jackson nature. “When he arrives at something, he has something in mind and he leaves.”
It was a common theme among people who spoke with KTW about Hamer-Jackson. Another friend, Bill Skene, described Hamer-Jackson as a dog with a bone.
Skene has been friends with Hamer-Jackson for 35 years. Their boys also played hockey together and they became friends. He described Hamer-Jackson as a “straight guy” and recalled that the two competed as car salesmen working for different dealerships. They would try to get their names in the newspaper for seller of the month. Reid was apparently photographed five years in a row.
“He would sell anything,” Skene said. “He’s a hell of a seller”
Skene recalled an occasion when the two of them raced cars on a quarter-mile race track that was next to Skene’s workplace in an industrial area of Kamloops. Hamer-Jackson was driving a Trans-Am and Skene was driving a Camaro and they were racing with no one else around – until Skene’s boss’ son showed up and caught them. It’s a story that keeps recurring between the two men.
“We have a few things to say,” Skene joked. “Not for you guys, though.”
Hamer-Jackson has a penchant for stock car racing, according to a number of his friends and family.
Another of Hamer-Jackson’s friends is Doogie Anderson. Asked about Hamer-Jackson’s hobbies and interests, Anderson said that Hamer-Jackson was a “gold-gloved boxing champion”, a dirt bike and ATV rider, and a boater.
“He got his golden gloves,” Anderson said. “It’s the hierarchy. Do you know when you have a black belt in karate? When he was younger, it was a boxing thing. So he knows how – he doesn’t back down from anyone.
Stereo Warehouse owners Nina Johal and Mindy Sandhu have worked with Hamer-Jackson’s Tru Market Auto Sales for 30 years and describe him as a good neighbor and a good person. Johal said the couple called Hamer-Jackson when they felt unsafe due to street disturbances in their neighborhood, noting that they shared water and electricity after a fire damaged the Stereo Warehouse building.
Johal said Hamer-Jackson was compassionate and spoke to people on the street, recalling an occasion when someone got on a train behind their buildings. She said Hamer-Jackson spent 30 to 45 minutes talking to the person, who was in distress, down the train before taking them to her office to talk. On another occasion, Sandhu was threatened and the owners of Stereo Warehouse telephoned Hamer-Jackson.
“Before the police arrived, Reid arrived,” Johal said. “Reid was always there whenever we needed him, feeling unsafe in our store. He always gets away with it. No matter where he is, he will come down and help us.
Sandhu added, “If a person has a good heart, cares and is compassionate, it doesn’t matter what profession, job they choose. If you’re a good person, good in every way, and have nothing to gain personally, I’d rather have that person show up – whatever that is.
Tyrell said Hamer-Jackson is a huge Kamloops Blazers fan and is friends with the Recchi family. NHL Hall of Famer Mark Recchi backed Hamer-Jackson for mayor during the campaign trail.
Mel Recchi — Mark Recchi’s dad — told KTW he knew Hamer-Jackson’s dad, who was a “great real estate man in Kamloops,” noting that he was something of a second dad to Hamer Jackson. Recchi said Hamer-Jackson comes across as a “tough man”, but stressed he would do anything to help and had a big smile. He went so far as to describe him as a “nice guy”.
Recchi said Hamer-Jackson first told him he was running for the board and that Recchi encouraged him. He said he was the first person Hamer-Jackson called to tell him he was actually planning to run for mayor – which surprised Recchi.
“He’s going to have a challenge but, you know, he’s a very bright guy,” Recchi said, adding that he thought Hamer-Jackson would work well with the board on all issues.
“Sometimes Reid, excuse my language, seems like a badass. But he is not. It’s a real softy. He’s a pretty good guy. He’s stubborn, but he’s a really good guy.
Tyrell said what you see is what you get with his dad. He said he suggested his father wear a suit when he ran for mayor.
“He says, ‘No. No, Ty, like I was just a normal guy,” Tyrell recounted. “’I’m just going to wear my clothes. I will not change. Why would I change? Why would I wear a suit? I’ve never really worn costumes.