Less than a day after Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner announced she won’t be seeking re-election, the list of people hoping to take her place appears to be growing.
Surrey Coun. Tom Gill has never been afraid to speak out on controversial issues affecting the city, and said the job of mayor is something he’s considering.
“Certainly I’m looking at some opportunities to look at being the candidate, but I’m going to be working with my team and I’ve got a lot of great people on my team and we’re going to see what those next steps may look like.”
Surrey First Councillors Mike Starchuck and Bruce Hayne have also expressed interest in the top job.
That competition between longtime political allies could cause friction, but all three say despite rumours, the Surrey First party remains united.
Barinder Rasode, who finished third in Surrey’s 2014 mayoral race, has also been floated as a possible contender.
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At a news conference on Wednesday, Hepner said it was a series of health scares that convinced her not to run again.
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She said the key moment came after receiving results from a couple of biopsies that came back negative, but gave her “pause for thought.”
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“I just want to dedicate more time to family, friends and husband,” said the 70-year-old mayor.
“I have beautiful grandchildren that I don’t spend enough time with. I want to go to lacrosse games and practices and I don’t have the time to do it.”
Hepner said she’s proud of her work on bringing new rapid transit to the city and hopes to tackle the so-called “Whalley Strip” on 135A Street before her tenure is up.
Surrey is working on 160 units of temporary modular housing for homeless people living in tents on the notorious street.
Hepner and her Surrey First Party swept the mayorship, council and school board in the city in the 2014 election.
They’ll face a challenge this year from the newly-formed Surrey Community Alliance.