Two Veteran Politicians leaving the Lege Vicki Huntington – By Ray Hudson

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Vicki Huntington

Vicki Huntington and Sue Hammell will not run

Vicki Huntington
Vicki Huntington

Surrey MLA Sue Hammell, and Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington, have announced they will not run in the coming election. Health issues are cited as being the reason in both cases; for Hammell however, she will leave to devote time to her husband “following his recent serious illness,” while for Huntington, she said she’s stepping back, “to focus on getting my health back and getting into shape.” She said when that was achieved she would “be back” and will determine “what’s next” at that time.

Sue Hammell, MLA for Surrey Green Timbers, is one of the senior members of the BC Legislature, first elected in 1991. She served in the Harcourt government in a number of cabinet positions including Minister of Housing, Recreation and Consumer Services, Minister Responsible for Co-operatives, and Minister for Women’s Equality. In addition, she was government caucus chair and was active on several legislative committees. In opposition from 2005 to 2009 she served as the Deputy Speaker of the House, and most recently as Critic for Mental Health and Addictions.

In a posting on her Facebook Hammell wrote:

While the decision to not run again in the upcoming election was incredibly tough, I know in my heart it is the right one. Representing the people of Surrey-Green Timbers for the last 20 plus years has been unbelievably rewarding and I look back at my time serving the residents of Surrey fondly.

While my time as an elected official might be drawing to a close, I still remain committed to making this province a better place for every single one of its residents. Retirement only means it’s time for a new adventure, and I’m looking forward to what this next chapter brings for John and I.”

Sue Hammell
Sue Hammell

Vicki Huntington, who served on Delta Council for fifteen years, was still a Delta Councillor when she challenged MLA Val Roddick over the threatened closure of the Delta Hospital. She lost by a narrow margin, but in 2009, she challenged and defeated Liberal cabinet minister Wally Oppal by 32 votes.

She blazed a new trail as the first independent MLA since 1949, and carved out a niche for her voice to be heard in the legislature, negotiating a one-question a week agreement. Over her two terms she built a reputation as not being afraid to speak her mind as a strong advocate for the environment which brought her into opposition with the development of Delta Port’s Terminal Two, and a fierce advocate for the protection of Delta farmland.

In a posting on her facebook page, Huntington wrote:

After extensive reflection, I have made the difficult decision that I cannot run in the upcoming provincial election. This was not a conclusion reached lightly and has been one of the most difficult decisions of my professional career.
It has been a distinct honour to serve as an independent voice for the people of Delta South. I have been privileged to be able to act independently of party discipline and always in the best interests of my constituents.

As the first Independent MLA elected in 60 years, and as the first to ever be re-elected, I can say unequivocally that the last eight years have been among the most enjoyable and interesting of my working life. It has been an honour to serve the constituency of Delta South.

 Before Huntington’s announcement, Councillor Ian Paton had been named as the Liberal Candidate for Delta South.  The NDP have yet to name their candidate.

Prior to her election, Delta South had been solidly Liberal and Social Credit.