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New Victoria mayoral candidate, three more council candidates step forward

Four people from jump into the race for the Oct. 2018 municipal election
Stephen Hammond (left) has declared he wants to run for mayor, and Randie Johal, Andrew Reeve and Gary Alberts declared they want to run for city council. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

The pool of candidates for Victoria’s upcoming municipal election just got bigger., a citizen-led online initiative that promised representatives in October 2017 finally announced their candidates on Friday.

Stephen Hammond will run for mayor, while Randie Johal, Andrew Reeve and Gary Alberts will run for council.

Hammond is trained in law, specializing in labour and employee relations. While he was called to the bar in 1988 and worked for many years, he no long practises law. Instead, he focuses on a business he’s owned for 27 years, called Harassment Solutions Inc., which aims to improve workplace behavior and minimize harassment and bullying.

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Hammond and his husband of 11 years, Jack Boomer, live in Victoria, and through their experiences have come to believe that change needs to happen.

“Over the past several days, more people have been talking about our municipal governance than I have ever seen,” Hammond said . “People are fired up, and fed up with a Mayor and Council that doesn’t listen to residents. Whether or not you agree with taking down the statue of Sir John A Macdonald, you cannot deny that the way this decision was made lacked transparency, and is just another example in a long list of instances where due process was not respected by our Council.”

Hammond said he and the team are committed to a safe and clean Victoria, and to “true fiscal responsibility.”

Hammond first had the idea to run for mayor in 2015, when a tent city had developed next to Victoria’s court house.

“I decided to speak up, and unfortunately we needed to scream bloody murder to get the simple security and safety that we were looking for in the neighbourhood,” Hammond said.

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Randie Johal recently retired from her 33 years working as a manager for BC transit; she worked in the operations department, focusing on collective agreements between employees and unions.

Johal retired on May 28, but by July she knew she needed to do more.

“I realized that I want to give back to the community, I feel energy and have a lot of ideas myself, but I also want to hear what the people have to say,” Johal said.

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Johal believes Victoria’s largest issue is transportation, including the bike lanes.

“I think we have to look at it and see what’s better with the next steps,” she said. ” I think everything we’re going to look at is to see what’s been done, and how we can improve before we go forward.”

Johal is a third-generation Victorian, after her father came out from India at age five to live with his grandparents and aunt and uncle.

Johal’s has been an Auxiliary Constable since 2005, Board member with the John Howard Society of Victoria since 2014, and active member of the Sikh Temple.

She lives in Victoria with her husband of 35 years.

Andrew Reeve is’s millennial representative, but at just age 26 he holds a lot of experience. He is the chairman of the Threshold Housing Society, a local organization that provides youth at risk of homelessness with transitional housing and life skills. He also currently works in communications at the B.C. Legislature, and previously was the director of communications and government relations for the Trust for Sustainable Development.

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Reeve previously ran for Victoria City Council in 2014, and received over 4,000 votes.

For Reeve, his biggest concern is the housing crisis.

“I think it’s time that we got a new generation of leadership on board,” he said. “Seeing the way that council has been operating for the past decades has been troubling… you have councillors who have been on council for two decades.

“They’re making decisions that, now that I’m an adult and looking at rent, the decisions that they made then and continue to make have disenfranchised an entire generation from being able to participate in living here.”

Reeve believes more mid-level homes, including duplexes and triplexes need to be available to Victorians.

Gary Alberts is also running for council under the umbrella, but he made his announcement early and was featured in a previous article.

The council candidates are running against Grace Lore, Laurel Collins, Sharmarke Dubow, Sarah Potts, Jordan Reichert, Anna King and Marg Gardiner.

In the mayoral race, Hammond is running against incumbent mayor Lisa Helps, Gary Beyer, Rob Duncan and Sean Leitenberg.

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