Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode announced today she will be running for Mayor of Surrey in the upcoming municipal election.
Rasode launched her campaign under the slogan "One Tough Mother" in front of a large crowd at SFU's Surrey Grand Hall on Saturday afternoon. She will be running as an independent.
"This election is a choice: a choice of whether we build a safe and prosperous city or whether we continue to do things the same old way," said Rasode.
Rasode says, if elected, she will make public safety a top priority in Surrey and vowed to get "tough on crime."
She says she plans to reduce officer response times, double the number of officers on patrol, and hire more community safety personnel such as by-law officers.
She also says she will improve coordination between police and firefighters, establish a community court system that deals with chronic offenders, and provide more resources for those struggling with addiction and mental illness.
"We need a comprehensive 360 degree plan on crime," said Rasode. "I want to keep our kids out of trouble. I want to crack down on crime whenever and wherever it takes place."
Crime issues dominate political agendas
Last year, Surrey had a record number of 25 homicides, including the high-profile death of Julie Paskall. The 53-year-old mother of three was brutally beaten in what police called a robbery gone wrong outside a Newton hockey arena in December.
Now the city's crime problem is dominating the political agendas of all three mayoral candidates.
Former three-term mayor Doug McCallum, who lost to current Mayor Dianne Watts in 2005 and is running again as the Safe Surrey mayoral candidate, says he will take a proactive approach to crime by hiring 95 additional police officers.
Meanwhile, Surrey city councillor Linda Hepner, who became the Surrey First mayoral candidate when Watts announced she will not be running for re-election, says solving Surrey's crime problem must involve programs for repeat offenders with addiction and mental health issues.
Shaping up to be a tight race
The race for mayor of B.C.'s fastest growing city could be the closest its seen in years.
Shortly after Rasode announced her candidacy, Hepner welcomed Rasode to the race while questioning her qualifications for the city's top job.
"Running a city takes more than one individual. It takes a team with experience. What this election is really about is who can do the best job for Surrey, and as we’ve seen, Barinder is accustomed to leaving teams in order to further her personal ambitions," Hepner said in a Surrey First statement.
Hepner was referring to last April, when Rasode announced she was leaving Surrey First to become an independent.
Surrey's municipal elections take place on November 15.