Eleven candidates for Langley Township council have endorsed Mel Kositsky’s campaign for mayor.
The backing was announced during a rally Saturday afternoon at Kositsky’s Walnut Grove campaign headquarters. He said he decided to hold the rally because many candidates were telling him that voters were asking whom they were backing for mayor.
All six incumbent members of Township council who are seeking councillors’ seats again were either present or announced their support via written message. They are councillors Charlie Fox, Grant Ward, Bev Dornan, Bob Long, Steve Ferguson and Kim Richter.
“I’d like to think I was the first to endorse him, but I’m not,” said Richter, the first council candidate to speak. “That was Rick Green, who in July told people to save a vote for him (Kositsky). I couldn’t agree more.”
When Green announced the formation of the Vote Langley Now slate, he said voters should back the seven VLN councillor candidates and Kositsky. At that time, Kositsky had not decided to run for mayor. He said Saturday he was totally unaware that Green was going to endorse him.
Also backing Kositsky’s candidacy were council candidates Misty vanPopta, Bert Chen, Murray Jones and Dan Sheel, all of whom were at the rally and spoke. Also present was candidate Rick Manuel.
In addition, he has the support of former mayor John Scholtens, who is backing his bid to defeat his two rival candidates, incumbent Rick Green and Jack Froese, for the top position on council. Three candidates for Langley Board of Education have also announced their support for Kositsky.
Board of education candidates Alison McVeigh and Kari Medos were present at the rally, and Stacey Cody, a Township resident running for one of the two City seats on the board, was also present. Candidate Megan Dykeman sent a message saying she was sorry she was unable to attend the event, but later told The Times that she is not endorsing any candidates for council. Medos also is not endorsing any candidate.
“I did not attend as a means of endorsing anyone, although I do appreciate that we have two new candidates putting their hats in for the position of mayor,” she said in an e-mail.
On Monday, McVeigh sent The Times am e-mail saying she is ready to work with whomever is elected by voters on Nov. 19. Copsy sent an e-mail to The Times saying tyhe same thing — “I popped in on Saturday to Mel’s campaign office to say hello. While I feel I can work with any of the three mayoral candidates, I have not endorsed any of them. I wish all three candidates the best of luck.”
Scholtens, who served as mayor from 1993 to 1999, during Kositsky’s first two terms on council, said he has stayed out of the political spotlight for the past nine years. He lost to Kurt Alberts in 1999 and again in 2002 and, since then, “I have not been a participant at all, except that I vote and I pay taxes. I never publicly spoke about how Kurt Alberts ran council.
“To be mayor of a town is not an easy job. These councillors are all saying nice things, but sometimes when you are mayor, they can be a pain – especially now that there are eight of them. (Township council had six councillors while he was mayor).
“I did conclude that Rick Green did some things that are not best suited for a mayor, but nobody came forward. Finally, Jack (Froese) did. Jack has never flown the plane. You may not like the pilot, but I’d rather turn to the co-pilot. I started urging people on council to step forward. It’s a difficult job, but Mel knows how to do it.”
Kositsky urged those present to encourage everyone to get out and vote and work hard right until the polls close next Saturday. In an interview after the rally, he said that he and the others who backed him are not part of any kind of formal or informal slate.
“They are independent candidates. They make up their minds, and they did so. People want to know who they support for mayor. Every vote is going to count. It isn’t an election to sit back and watch the results.”
He noted that he and fellow councillors “obviously don’t agree on a lot of things (at council), but then we move on to the next issue. That’s the way a municipal council works.”
Kositsky said he welcomes candidates to leave literature at his 202 Street campaign office to offer potential voters more information. A table at the entrance had information from more than a dozen candidates for council and several others for the board of education.