SURREY — Longtime city councillor Judy Villeneuve will not seek re-election this fall, joining her Surrey First colleagues Mary Martin and Mayor Linda Hepner in stepping away from politics.
Villeneuve has served on Surrey city council since 1989.
According to a release, she’s the longest-serving city councillor in Surrey’s history.
Villeneuve’s focus as a politician has centred around social, environmental and cultural issues. She serves as chair of Surrey’s Social Police and Public Art Advisory committees, as a member of finance and police committees and is Surrey’s representative on the Metro Vancouver board.
“My family and I moved to Surrey more than 40 years ago, but even back then it was easy to see Surrey’s incredible potential,” said Villeneuve in a statement.
“My 29 consecutive years on council have given me a tremendous opportunity to watch our city evolve and mature, and while I know there’s still plenty more to be done in the years ahead, I also know I want to spend more time with my family and make room for new voices who can continue building and shaping our city’s future.”
Villeneuve said in a statement it has been “a real pleasure and privilege to play a part in the life of our city as a councillor.”
“But, the biggest impact on me has been the people I’ve met along the way,” she added. “The volunteers, the activists, the community leaders and the city staff who put our city first are definitely Surrey’s biggest asset, particularly when it comes to building a modern, progressive community with a welcoming heart.”
Hepner said Villeneuve’s name is “synonymous with public service, and her fingerprints are on much of what makes Surrey so appealing to families right across the city.”
“Judy has always been a tireless worker and advocate for a Surrey that is inclusive, creative, and caring,” said Hepner in a release. No one on council has Judy’s years of experience, and that’s been of tremendous value as we continue to write the next chapter in the Surrey story.”
Villeneuve follows in fellow Surrey First councillor Mary Martin’s footsteps in stepping away from politics.
Martin, who has served on council since 2005, announced in May that she wouldn’t seek re-election.
Meantime, five Surrey First councillors told the Now-Leader they are considering a mayoral run, after Hepner announced she wouldn’t be seeking re-election. Dave Woods, Vera LeFranc, Tom Gill, Mike Starchuk and Bruce Hayne have all expressed interest in the city’s top job.
Surrey First, which holds all seats on council, has not officially chosen its mayoral candidate or released a slate of council candidates. It’s expected that will materialize soon.
Three new slates – Surrey Community Alliance, Proudly Surrey and People First Surrey – have materialized in Surrey that intend to challenge the reigning Surrey First party in the upcoming civic election.
Just over 100,000 people cast a ballot in Surrey in the 2014 civic election, up from 70,253 in 2011.
Surrey voters head to the polls on Oct. 20.