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Mayor makes it three in race

With two challengers already declared, incumbent Lois Jackson announces she'll seek fifth term in November

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson will run for a fifth term in this November's civic election.

Jackson told the Optimist her name would "absolutely" be on the ballot, adding she has never been so excited about what's going on in Delta as she is right now.

The incumbent's statements come on the heels of first-term councillor Heather King's announcement last Wednesday that she is making a run for the mayor's chair. Last month, former councillor Krista Engelland kicked off the election talk when she announced she would make a second bid for Delta's top job.

"It's a little bit early and I've had a lot of people contact me, especially since Krista came out of the gate early. So I thought we'd just take the mystery out of that and it's going to be very exciting," Jackson said.

"The future of Delta, in my opinion, is really very exciting and I'm happy to have competition in the upcoming race. We'll have a clear choice about whether we're moving forward or moving backwards."

Jackson has spent the better part of the last four decades in Delta municipal politics. She was elected as the municipality's first female alderman in 1972 and spent most of the next 27 years on council before being elected mayor in 1999. She has subsequently been re-elected three times.

If given a fifth term by voters, Jackson said she plans on continuing to work to keep property taxes low, pay off the municipality's debt and build without incurring new debt.

Jackson, who has bested council veterans Bruce McDonald, Wendy Jeske and Engelland in previous elections, will have to contend with two "name" candidates this time around.

In making their announcements, Engelland and King both touched on a similar theme, primarily that municipal hall needs to listen to the public. Jackson dismissed that claim as nothing more than an attempt to create an issue where none exists.

"We give answers to people by in large quicker than you can get an appointment from your dentist. We're on it right away, and although sometimes something falls between the cracks or people aren't happy with the answer they've received, we're accessible and have had an open door policy since '99," Jackson added.

In recent years the mayor has had to deal with several weighty issues that are beyond the municipality's control, including Deltaport expansion, the high voltage power lines and the South Fraser Perimeter Road. As far as issues within council's control, the one that's been most controversial recently has been the Tsawwassen Area Plan and, in particular, the future of the Southlands.

Jackson, who's also chair of the Metro Vancouver board, ran with councillors Robert Campbell and Scott Hamilton in 2008 on a slate called the Delta Independent Voters Association after the trio left Tri Delta. Even though the group is officially an electoral organization, the three referred to themselves as independents, as does the rest of council.

Ian Paton joined the slate and was victorious in last year's by-election.

Jackson defeated Engelland, a 15-year council veteran and former ally, in 2008 due in large part to strong support in North Delta.

In that campaign Engelland contended Jackson was distracted by regional issues, a claim the mayor scoffed at.

Jackson received 52.4 per cent of the vote compared to Engelland's 38.5 per cent, although the challenger did beat the incumbent at the Tsawwassen polls.

This is the first crack at the mayor's job for King, who topped the polls in her first bid for a council seat in 2008. She had been a school trustee for the previous six years.

The municipal election will be held Nov. 19.

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