Jack Froese says politics can be a ‘crazy business’

Township of Langley mayor seeks third term

The first time Jack Froese ran for mayor of Langley Township, the novice politician had to look up “how to run a campaign” online.

The former police officer turned turkey farmer proved to be a quick study, winning the 2011 campaign with 41 per cent of the vote.

READ MORE: Mayor Jack Froese takes the helm (2011)

Now running for a third term, the incumbent mayor is posting to social media, including the hashtag slogan #getonboardwithjack on Twitter.

The longer slogan, seen on his website, is “It’s about respect. It’s about working together. And for campaign 2018 it’s about delivering on the promise.”

“It’s one thing to come in brand new and your track record is your life history,” Froese said. It’s something else to run with a track record.

Froese said he can point a record of positive change and achievements that includes hiring additional police and fire, widening of the 208 Street overpass, and the creation of the Township of Langley’s Public Engagement Charter.

There was a period of time where it appeared Froese would be facing a potential challenge for the mayors chair from two high-profile challengers; incumbent councillor, Kim Richter, and a well-known businessman with a history of clashing with the municipality, Eric Woodward.

Both Richter and Woodward ultimately withdrew from the mayor’s race to run for council.

Froese said he was preparing for a contest against the two up right up until they confirmed they wanted the seats next to the mayor’s chair instead.

“In this crazy business of politics, everything is possible,” Froese said when asked to comment on the withdrawals.

There has been progress on some of the issues that were top-of-mind when he first ran, Froese said.

Froese noted the debate was originally about the need to have something better than bare-bones bus routes.

“[There was) not even an express service,” Froese said.

Now, he noted, the discussion is about the relative merits of a LRT connection between Surrey and Langley versus SkyTrain.

The change was the result of regional mayors working with other levels of government, something that is a big part of the mayor’s job, Froese said.

For instance, he has been coordinating with other mayors to press for improvements to the congested freeway.

“Highway 1 isn’t in municipal jurisdiction, but it affects our region,” Froese said.

Another issue that isn’t technically under Langley authority but very much a concern: “The social issue of homelessness and everything that surrounds it.”

There has been some progress, with plans to get people off the street and into supportive housing, Froese said.

Overall, he said Langley Township is in good shape.

“We’re in a pretty good place.”

Going forward, Froese said he would like to get senior levels of government to help fund a performing arts centre.

Langley has “great sports facilities” Froese said, “I think we need to start looking at the arts.”

Froese has lived in Langley for over 39 years.

His campaign biography notes that after growing up on a chicken farm in Abbotsford, Froese and his wife, Debbie, moved to Langley in 1979 to an egg farm. The farm was converted to turkey production — now known as JD Farms Specialty Turkey — and his children continue to operate the business today.

Froese also spent 19 years as a police officer with the Vancouver Police Department, retiring in 2004, and has volunteered as a coach with Aldergrove Soccer, with the RCMP auxiliary, as a board of director for the 2010 summer games and with local Rotary clubs.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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