Richmond First to run five for council

Andy Hobbs and Elsa Wong will run for a council seat under the Richmond First banner this fall.  - Matthew Hoekstra
Andy Hobbs and Elsa Wong will run for a council seat under the Richmond First banner this fall.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra

Elsa Wong and Andy Hobbs will join political veterans Bill McNulty, Derek Dang and Linda McPhail on the Richmond First council slate, organizers announced Tuesday.

Richmond First Voters Society unveiled its candidates for city council and school board in front of a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant, becoming the first civic group to take the wraps off election plans before the Nov. 15 vote.

Organizer and former longtime councillor Kiichi Kumagai, who estimated the crowd at over 1,000, held court for a brief press conference introducing the incumbents and political hopefuls.

Wong, 52, is a business consultant and an eight-year president of the Canada Asia Pacific Business Association. Hobbs, 56, is a retired Vancouver Police Department executive who served six years on school board—with his last term ending in 2008.

“Richmond is my home, I grew up here, and have chosen to remain here and raise our children here,” said Hobbs, a Richmond High grad. “I have something to give back.”

Pledging to work on lower taxes and public safety, Wong, who emigrated from Hong Kong in 1992, said: “So many people encouraged me to run.”

The pair will be joined by incumbents McNulty, Dang and McPhail on the council ballot.

In keeping with past elections, the society isn’t running a mayoral candidate—no one expressed interest, according to organizers—but is putting five names on the ballot for school board. Incumbents Donna Sargent, Debbie Tablotney and Eric Yung will run alongside newcomers Kevin Lloyd Lainchbury and Peter Liu.

Not returning to the Richmond First fold this year is Coun. Ken Johnston, who abandoned the group a few months ago. Johnston said he left on good terms, and has decided to “go in a different direction” by running either as an independent or with the newly-formed Richmond Community Coalition.

Richmond First Voters Society ran four candidates for council and four for school board in 2011. All were elected. McNulty topped the polls in 2011, with running mates McPhail and Dang right behind him.

McNulty called the slate diverse, and said his 12-year-old political group is working to bridge communities and encourage civic participation—a message the new rival group Richmond Community Coalition is also sending.

“It’s composed of experience and new people, to get the flavour of the community, and I think we reached out to the community to get that,” he said. “Richmond First continues to reach out to the community and has always tried to encourage voter turnout.”

On Nov. 15, voters will elect one mayor, eight councillors and seven trustees.

Candidates must file nomination papers between Sept. 30 and Oct. 10.

Richmond First candidates

•Council: x-Bill McNulty, x-Linda McPhail, x-Derek Dang, Andy Hobbs, Elsa Wong

•School board: x-Donna Sargent, x-Debbie Tablotney, x-Eric Yung, Kevin Lloyd Lainchbury, Peter Liu

x- incumbent

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