EDITORIAL: Team players

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While it’s clear to many observers that Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts seems destined for higher office, publicly she will only comment that she is focusing on the city at present.

Watts has been, by far, the most high-profile member of council and Surrey First – the political party that is “not a party” – since its creation in 2008. And that high profile – through attention-grabbing headlines on crime and transit issues, through her Metro Vancouver duties, through photo-op events, like Surrey Regional Economic Summits, featuring guest lists of former world leaders – virtually guarantees her support for ascendance to new political levels.

Regardless, no one is mayor forever. At some point, her successor will be chosen.

Which begs the question: who will want to step forward?

Perhaps more importantly for those power-brokers grooming candidates for office, who, from the current, exclusively Surrey First, council, would be deemed the most likely to be elected mayor, based on his or her performance as a councillor?

All have had their moments over the last couple of terms and will have their share of champions, but it’s hard to avoid the perception that it’s been Watts’ image – politically and pragmatically – that has been paramount in Surrey.

Candidates hoping to fill her shoes will need to do some serious soul-searching, as well as image-building, before they seek the mayor’s chair.

Like it or not, most of us are judged on our record when it comes to the effectiveness of what we do.

It’s only fair for voters to ask, at some point, what difference the other city councillors have made to the City of Surrey during their recent terms of office.

On what issues have council members, individually, taken leadership? Which of their own accomplishments can they point to with pride? In what way do they feel they have best served, and responded to constituents?

(Similar questions were posed here a couple of weeks ago, when four-term South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert announced he would not be running next year. They are, as yet, unanswered.)

When it does come to that point, merely being able to say that you have been a strong player on someone else’s team shouldn’t be nearly enough.

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