With only a few days to go before the nomination period closes for school trustee hopefuls, the first candidate has stepped forward.
New Westminster resident Dee Beattie filed on Monday for the upcoming byelection, on Saturday, June 11. The byelection was called to fill the seat vacated by MaryAnn Mortensen, who resigned earlier this spring.
Beattie has worked for 25 years in the Surrey school district, mainly as an education assistant and more recently as an inner city secondary support worker in which she provides academic and social support to at-risk students. She also has a background doing work for CUPE, both at the provincial and local level, and she has been a foster parent for many years.
But at the end of this school year, Beattie intends to retire and says serving the New Westminster school district is always something she’s wanted to do.
Why are you running?
I am retiring and I have always wanted to work in New West and work for children in New West, so that’s one of the reasons I am running. I’m also a foster parent and so I am concerned about what’s going on with the schools in New West, and so I just thought I’d be a great advocate to get in there. I have lots of different avenues to draw on from experience, and I just thought I’d really have something good to offer.
Top issues you want to work on:
I want to work with the rest of the board of course and find out what their issues are. I think the big thing is, of course, the high school. … I also think there’s going to be issues around the ruling from the Supreme Court and I really think that is going to be a big issue when it comes out.
What ruling is that?
The ruling on class size and composition. That’s gone to the Supreme Court now, and we’re waiting for a ruling because the B.C. government appealed it.
What other issues?
I just want to make sure I can give my voice to special ed kids, to kids that have diverse issues. I want to be a big, strong advocate for those kids.
Why should people vote in the byelection?
I think people who are concerned about the future of their kids’ education will get out and vote. I think the high school will be an issue why people will tune into this election.
Have you met with anyone in the community yet?
I did get a chance to meet some people at the (NWSS) rally, and I did introduce myself and let them know I was running. I have had a brief meeting with Jonina (Campbell) and Judy Darcy. That’s about it so far.
Did you get the New Westminster and District Labour Council endorsement?
Yes, I did.
Are you concerned the majority of elected officials in New West are labour-supported?
No, I don’t think I’m concerned, not at all. I think that this board has made some good decisions, and they’ve been doing some good work over the last few years, and I’m just concerned about working families and the goals that they have for their children. I want to make sure I’m there to help, … and that’s what labour council people do, they do fight for the working class, and I’ve been a labour person so I don’t have an issue with it.
More about Dee:
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Party: Labour endorsed
Profession: Inner city secondary support worker
Political experience: None