Les Barkman has announced that he will seek his fourth term on Abbotsford city council, becoming the first person to toss his hat into the ring for this October’s municipal election.
Barkman said he will again run as an independent candidate, seeking one of the eight councillor positions up for grabs.
Barkman, first elected in 2008, has served two three-year terms and is now in the final stretch of a four-year term.
“I love what I do,” he says of his decision to run again.
Barkman said he enjoys connecting with citizens to hear their ideas and concerns about the city, and has strong support from his family – including his wife of almost 40 years – to continue his role in local politics.
He said his main issues of concern include transit, especially as high housing prices bring people from other areas of the Lower Mainland east to Abbotsford and beyond.
“If we’re going to have urban infill, then we have to have a viable option for people other than cars,” he said.
Barkman said he is also concerned about mental-health and substance-abuse issues, adding that Abbotsford needs to work with senior levels of government to secure more long-term solutions, such as detox facilities.
Barkman started working for the city in 1974 in the parks, recreation and culture department as a maintenance person.
In 2008, he retired as the sanitation supervisor after almost 35 years of serving the city.
He has been a basketball referee for 40 years and has volunteered as a coach for various sports.
He has two grown sons and six grandchildren.
Barkman said anyone who would like to speak with him can reach him by phone at 604-859-7319 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The municipal election takes place Oct. 20.
In Abbbotsford, a mayor, eight councillors and seven school trustees will be elected.
In the last election in 2014, Barkman had the second-highest number of votes, behind veteran councillor Patricia Ross.
That election also saw four of the eight councillor seats go to new candidates – all from the new AbbotsfordFirst slate.
That election also saw the terms of office expand from three years to four.