Judy Higginbotham is asking voters to “re-elect” her to city council, even though she hasn’t held a seat there in three years.
The term “re-elect” on campaign signs is usually reserved for incumbents, however the rules regarding municipal elections in B.C. are silent on when the term can be used.
Higginbotham put the question to her election team about a month ago, whether to use the term.
It was unanimous, she said Tuesday, to go with “re-elect.”
“I spent 25 years on council,” Higginbotham said. “I took a sabbatical.”
Some independent council candidates don’t see it that way and are bothered that Higginbotham would use the term after being out of office for a while.
Gary Robinson, who is running for city council under the Surrey Civic Coalition (SCC) banner, was also a city councillor 12 years ago.
“It is something I could have done, it wouldn’t have been honest though,” Robinson said, pointing out Higginbotham’s use of the term goes directly to what concerns him about council.
“This election is actually about accountability, openness and honesty,” Robinson said. “That’s just another example of how some liberties are being taken by, not only some of the existing councillors, but also some of the old wanna-be councillors.”
Independent Susan Thomas was also miffed that Higginbotham is giving the impression she’s an incumbent.
“It’s very misleading,” Thomas said. “I don’t think it’s a fair representation… I guess if anything, I’m not happy with that, because it’s not a true and accurate statement.”
SCC’s Stephanie Ryan also said it’s a deceptive practice.
“It’s disingenuous,” Ryan said. “Judy is not currently on council and if they’re brand new signs, some people would say it’s intentionally misleading.”
The civic election is Saturday, Nov. 19.