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Long-serving Richmond MLA Reid won’t seek re-election

By Don Fennell

Published 11:24 PDT, Thu October 31, 2019

The longest serving female in the history of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia has announced she won’t be seeking re-election.

Richmond South Centre MLA Linda Reid announced Oct. 24 she will not be running in the next scheduled provincial election Oct. 16, 2021. She said it was not an easy decision.

“I think anyone would wrestle with it. I love the work,” said Reid, who was first elected Oct. 17, 1991. “I’ve looked at the future and sort of decided it was time to hang up the skates. 

Currently in her 28th year in office, she said she is surprised how much time has elapsed. But she is looking forward to continuing her work representing the people of Richmond South Centre, as well as remaining as BC Liberal critic for seniors for the next two years.

“The work is so very important and I intend to do that as long as my term lasts,” she said.

Reid, who with her re-election in 2017 became the longest-serving MLA in B.C. after former Premier W.A.C. Bennett (1941 to 1973), said it has been a priority throughout her career to encourage young people, especially females, to get involved in politics. She said she is passionate about creating opportunities for a new generation of British Columbians to run for office “which is why I have made this difficult decision.”

Reid, 60, noted her children were born while she was in office and that she is grateful for how the community has embraced her family. She said the constituency work, in particular helping people find solutions or be better supported “ has always spoken to me.”

“I’m also passionate about Habitat For Humanity, hopefully finding better transportation options, and helping to build a better community. Anything we can do to better support families we should absolutely do,” she said.

Reid initially represented the riding of Richmond East and was re-elected in 1996, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013. She has served as Minister of State for Childcare, Minister of State for Early Childhood Development, Minister of Advanced Education, Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. As Minister for Early Childhood Development, she oversaw the creation of 6,000 new childcare spaces in B.C. and in 2002 the individualized funding model for children with autism spectrum disorder. That year, the early childhood development legacy fund was also established to support community initiatives to support children under the age of six. In 2007, while Minister for childcare, she oversaw the Boost BC program which distributed free booster car seats to low-income families.

Reid is also the chair of the BC and Alberta Guide Dogs and a director of the Richmond Chinatown Lions club. She began volunteering as a First Aid Cadet with St. John Ambulance. 

The 2012 winner of the Ethel Tibbits Award for Community, recognizing her leadership in Richmond, she is grateful to reside in Richmond which she describes as “an amazing community” because of its high level of volunteerism.

“I’ve been absolutely honoured to be an MLA for Richmond,” she said. “I believe public service is the rent we pay for our time on this earth. It’s been a privilege, no question.”

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