British Columbia

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner will not seek re-election — who will be her party's nominee?

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner is the latest Metro Vancouver politician to announce she will not run in October's municipal elections. She cited a desire to spend more time with friends and family.

Hepner's party, Surrey First, took every seat on council and school board in the 2014 election

Mayor Linda Hepner says she will not run in 2018's municipal elections. (Nicolas Amaya/CBC)

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner has announced she will not run in the 2018 municipal election.

In a statement released Tuesday evening , Hepner said she "thought long and hard" about the decision but decided to step aside to dedicate more time to her family and friends.

"During my time with Surrey, the City has evolved from a modest suburb into the region's second metropolitan centre and a globally recognized leading edge city," she said in the statement. 

"I am very proud to have contributed to this transformation, but there will always be more to do, more to achieve and, therefore, there is never an ideal time to leave.

"It has been an honour and privilege to serve you and the City of Surrey."

Hepner is finishing up her first term as mayor, after being elected in 2014. She previously served as a city councillor, beginning in 2005.

Succession speculation

Hepner succeeded former mayor Dianne Watts to be the standard bearer for the Surrey First coalition, which has been dominant in city politics since 2008.

In the 2014 election, Surrey First took every council seat and every school board seat.

The party held their closed-door annual general meeting Tuesday night in South Surrey where Hepner made the announcement to party members.

After the news broke, there was much speculation about who would become the party's mayoral candidate.

Coun. Tom Gill says he interested in seeking the party's nomination but hasn't made a final decision yet and is currently having discussions with his family and his team.

Coun. Mike Starchuk declined comment on his next steps and Coun. Bruce Hayne did not return calls.

With files from Jesse Johnston and Meera Bains