Rob Howard becomes Richmond Centre's third straight B.C. Liberal MLA to quit after one term
Maybe it's the water. Or the fact that Richmond sometimes doesn't get a lot of respect when the premier chooses cabinet positions.
For whatever reason, B.C. Liberal MLAs for Richmond Centre keep quitting, even though they have occupied one of the safest seats in the province.
Today, Rob Howard became the third consecutive legislator to decide not to seek reelection after serving only one term, citing family reasons.
By not running again, Howard has foregone the possibility of collecting an MLA pension, which becomes available to those who serve six years in the house.
Howard, a former city councillor, took more than 61 percent of the vote in 2009.
His predecessor, Olga Ilich, abandoned the Gordon Campbell team after one term, even though she was a shoo-in to be reelected.
Prior to that, former mayor Greg Halsey-Brandt held the seat for one term. His wife was a member of the Hospital Employees' Union, whose contract was ripped up by the B.C. Liberal government. So perhaps it's not a surprise that he didn't seek reelection in 2005.
The last B.C. Liberal MLA to serve more than one term in Richmond Centre was Doug Symons, who was elected in 1991 and 1996. Symons also chose not stay with the Campbell team for the 2001 election, even though he would have won in a walk.
Ken Johnston is a member of Richmond council who also served only one term in the B.C. Liberal caucus. He was elected in Vancouver-Fraserview in 2001, but did not seek reelection after then-premier Gordon Campbell recruited Wally Oppal to run in that constituency.
Ilich made it into cabinet, but other Richmond MLAs (Halsey-Brandt, John Yap, and Linda Reid) have had to settle for the junior "minister of state" designations.
The most powerful Richmond cabinet minister during the Campbell era was Geoff Plant, who was attorney general and minister responsible for treaty negotiations from 2001 to 2005.
Plant also chose not to seek reelection after two terms, citing his wife's health, even though he would have won easily had he run in 2005.
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