There are now seven candidates vying to fill the vacant seat on the Langley Board of Education in the February byelection.
In addition to Charlie Fox and Stacey Wakelin, who previously announced their candidacies, Joel Neufeld, Alex Joehl, Phyllis Heppner, Grant Gilmour, and Holly Dickinson have all filed nomination papers.
Grant Gilmour is known locally as a Rotarian and volunteer.
“It’s a giving back thing,” said Gilmour, who is recently semi-retired.
He said he hopes that as a trustee he could respond to the changes the district is facing.
“This is a time of great change,” Gilmour said. “It’s a terrific opportunity.”
Alex Joehl has run several times in Langley both federally and provincially as a Libertarian Party candidate in recent years.
“Definitely school choice is something we need to double down on,” said Joehl, who added that as a libertarian, fiscal responsibility would be one of his key concerns if elected.
Phyllis Heppner is a local business owner who made her first foray into politics when she ran unsuccessfully for a spot on Langley Township council in the 2018 election.
“I hope to bring to the school board stability,” said Heppner, who has taught through her own private tutoring business for years and runs instruction classes for other teachers.
“This is really where my interest lies in life,” she said.
Joel Neufeld is best known locally for organizing a Black Lives Matter walk in Fort Langley in 2020.
He said he hoped to bring a new common-sense approach to the board.
“We cannot allow the same old problems to continue without real solutions,” Neufeld said. He said he anticipated releasing a full platform in early February.
Holly Dickinson, a Surrey teacher, is running a fundraiser on GoFundMe.
She said that as a teacher during COVID, she has on-the-ground experience that no one else on the current board has.
She also said that issues like child poverty and hunger were important to her.
“I’m super passionate about mental health,” said Dickinson.
“The trustee position is an opportunity to work during the afternoons and evenings to help promote systematic change and help influence policies at the community level,” she wrote on her GoFundMe statement.
The seat was left vacant when school board chair Megan Dykeman stepped down to take up her new post as the NDP MLA for Langley East.
The election will be held on Feb. 27 and will include early voting days and will be the first local byelection to allow for mail in ballots, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.