SURREY — Veteran Surrey New Democrat MLA Sue Hammell is retiring from public life this spring after serving five terms in office to spend more time with her husband John Pollard, whom she said is “quite ill.”
The couple have been married for 37 years.
Hammell, a former cabinet minister, said it’s been her “incredible privilege” to serve the constituents of Surrey-Green Timbers over the past 20 years.
“I’m going to miss it,” she said. “I love the job.”
“However, my husband’s recent serious illness means I must devote more time to my family.”
Hammell said her job as MLA “is just too big and too consuming” to do both.
She served as executive assistant to former mayor Bob Bose before being first elected as a Surrey NDP MLA in 1991.
Re-elected in 1996, 2005, 2009 and 2013, Hammell served in many roles in both government and opposition, among them minister of housing, recreation and consumer services, minister responsible for co-operatives and the minister of women’s equality. She has most recently served as the official opposition critic for mental health and substance abuse.
The NDP will select an MLA candidate for Surrey-Green Timbers at a nomination meeting at the end of January. There are of course no declared nominees yet because Hammell has just announced she won’t run.
Meantime, she will finish her term into the May 9 general election and intends to campaign for the NDP.
Hammell said she had been “looking forward to joining BC’s next premier, John Horgan, in government.”
Horgan, the NDP’s leader, said Hammell has proven “tireless in her advocacy for women’s rights and B.C.’s families.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to have her on our team,” he said. “While I wish she was by my side as we elect a New Democrat government this coming May, family always comes first.”