Jack Froese cites two and a half years of animosity between the mayor and council as a major reason he is seeking to become the next mayor of Langley Townshjp.
Froese, a longtime North Ottter area farmer, is a political newcomer. He has a wealth of experience in many facets of life, including agriculture, business, law enforcement and community involvement.
While he and his wife Debbie built JD Turkey Farms and Bistro into a thriving business, Froese also served 19 years as a police officer. His leadership skills have been evident in his company, the poultry industry, the business community, the Aldergrove Soccer Association and the 2010 BC Summer Games, where he volunteered as director of security.
Froese is currently putting his platform together, in consultation with Langley citizens, and will release it before next fall’s municipal election.
His only previous political experience was in helping his wife’s father run for Abbotsford council almost 40 years ago, and in putting up signs for Township Councillor Bev Dornan in the 2008 election.
In an interview with The Times, he said he plans to gather together a team of people from the arts, sports, business and farm communities to advise him on policy issues, before issuing a platform as the election gets closer.
Froese said he was approached several months ago about running for council, and at the time felt that his business needed most of his time. Since that time, he has been giving the matter more thought, and he feels the staff at his business, which includes his son and daughter, are ready to take on more of the challenges. This got him thinking that he should run for mayor.
“The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. This has sped up my plans (to be less directly involved) in the business.”
Froese said he will not be running as part of a slate, but as an independent candidate. However, he added that he feels he has good support from the eight current councillors. He has talked to each of them since making his decision. He decided to run without consulting any of them.
He feels that Mayor Rick Green has not been a good leader, and that has led to many council battles over the past two and one-half years.
“When something is wrong, you have to look at the leader,” he said. “I don’t believe there are eight people who don’t know what they’re doing. When all eight say ‘we’ve had enough,’ something needs to change. The mayor has failed to bring council together.
“It’s broken down. The way (council) is run creates an us vs. them mentality, and it allows for bullying. I will work with council and will support the end result of council’s vote.”
Froese said council cannot go backwards and revisit decisions like adding full-time firefighters, which have increased taxes.
Councillor Charlie Fox said Tuesday he welcomes Froese’s entry into the race, but is still considering whether he should run for mayor this fall. Fox said he wants to see more details of Froese’s political platform before he makes his decision.
Jack and Debbie Froese have owned their farm on 248 Street since 1979. He worked on his family egg farm in Mount Lehman while growing up, and developed a passion for country living. He graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 1972 and in 1973 married his high school sweetheart, Debbie. Together they continued to farm with Jack’s father on the family farm.
In 1979, they purchased a small egg farm in Langley and established JD Farms. They raised their three children on the farm. Froese also served as a director on the BC Egg Producers Association.
He also had a longstanding interest in law enforcement, and in 1983, he returned to school. He enrolled in criminology at Fraser Valley College. While attending college, he volunteered with the Langley RCMP Auxiliary program. He continued his studies in 1984 at Simon Fraser University.
In the fall of 1985, he embarked on a career with the Vancouver Police Department. During his 19 years with the VPD, he had a varied career working in patrol, community services, collision investigation and waterfront/marine.
He also volunteered as his two daughters’ soccer coach and as a cub scout leader in his son’s troop. He coached soccer for 17 years in the Aldergrove Soccer Club from 1985 until 2002. He also served as registrar and referee co-ordinator for the Aldergrove Soccer Club and took a turn as president on the Central Fraser Valley Girls Soccer Association.
In 2004, after retiring from the police force, he started to devote more time to his rapidly-growing business. The Froeses had switched from producing eggs to growing turkeys in 1987, and in 1992, began branding and marketing turkeys as JD Farms Specialty Turkey.
They built a small retail on-farm market and sold turkeys at the farm gate and to independent meat markets throughout B.C. Today JD Farms Specialty Turkey employs 20 people, including two of Jack and Debbie’s children.
Froese has served a two-year term as director on the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. He has received an award for the best farm from the Aldergrove Agricultural Association, and a Business Excellence nomination and Businessman of the Year nomination from the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, he received the member of the year award from The Alternative Board, a small business group of which he is a member.
He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Langley and was honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow for his “Service above Self.”
For the 2010 BC Summer Games in Langley Township, he put together a team of professionals to organize the security needs for the games and worked with hundreds of volunteers to help make the games the biggest success in Langley’s sporting history.