SURREY — Political newcomer Rachna Singh has won the riding of Surrey-Green Timbers, beating political veteran Brenda Locke, her Liberal challenger.
“Thank you for putting me in this place,” Singh told supporters at Riverside Banquet Hall in Newton on Tuesday evening.
Singh has worked as a drug and alcohol counsellor and also as a support worker for victims of domestic violence.
With 54 of 59 polls reporting, Singh had 5,824 votes compared to Locke’s 3,502, as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Earlier in the evening, outgoing MLA Sue Hammell, who is retiring from politics, gave Singh a big hug.
Hammell also gave the Now-Leader her thoughts about the bigger picture in B.C. on Tuesday evening.
“It’s shaken up the status quo, there’s a rejection of the Liberal point of view,” Hammell said of the election’s tight race.
“This isn’t going to be over until the official count is done,” she added. “This isn’t going to be decided for a couple of weeks. This isn’t over.”
At the NDP gathering in Surrey, 16-year-old Shefali said she volunteered for Singh in Green Timbers because the party wants to make childcare more affordable.
In recent years, a majority of Surrey-Green Timbers voters clearly liked Hammell, who won the riding in every provincial election, except one, since it was created in 1991.
Last election, she took 58.10 per cent of the popular vote, defeating runner-up Liberal candidate Amrik Tung by 3,414 votes.
Earlier this year, however, Hammell decided to retire from public life, after serving five terms in office, to spend more time with her ill husband John Pollard. The only candidate to have defeated Hammell is the Liberal’s Brenda Locke, who lost to Singh on Tuesday night.
Locke defeated Hammell in 2001, when the NDP sustained an across-the-board trouncing provincially. She served the riding from 2001 to 2005, when Hammell took it back. During her time as MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, Locke served as minister of state for mental health and addiction services.
Surrey-Green Timbers, according to available figures, has a population of 58,816, covers 18 square kilometres and average age of its residents is 34.4 years. All told, for 69.37 per cent of the riding’s residents, English is their second language.