Friday, October 28, 2011

Langley Municipal Election - Jack Froese

As part of our 2011 municipal election coverage, we sent out a questionnaire to all the mayoral candidates running in the City and Township of Langley. We will post the responses in the order they are received. Today we will be posting the reply for Township of Langley mayoral candidate Jack Froese.

Tell me a little bit about yourself
Jack Froese has lived, worked and raised a family in Langley for 32 years.

Jack Froese demonstrates leadership and grew his local business 40 times since the first years in vegetable and nursery production, commercial egg farm, and eventually a turkey farm. JD Farms grew to wholesale distribution throughout British Columbia including retail agri-tourism on farm store. Jack was nominated in 2009 as “Business Person of the Year” awarded the TAB Board 405, “Member of the Year”.

Jack Froese completed a 19 career with the Vancouver Police Department in 2004 where he worked in patrol, community services, collision investigation and on the waterfront.

Jack Froese contributed hundreds of hours in community service. A sample of his contributions are: Served as director on the Fraser Valley and BC Egg Producers Association Special Constable with the Langley RCMP auxiliary, Soccer coach for 15 years in the Aldergrove Soccer Club, Served on the executive of the Aldergrove Soccer Club, Served on the executive of the Fraser Valley Girls Soccer Association and is a past president of that organization. Past director of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, currently a member, and past president of the Rotary Club of Aldergrove. Served as Director of Security for the 2010 Township of Langley BC Summer Games.

Jack Froese, both personally and through his business, contributed to the success and well being of his community by supporting various charities such as: Rotary International, The Langley Hospital Foundation, The Langley School District Foundation, The Terry Fox Foundation, The Langley Lodge, The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, The Salvation Army Union Gospel Mission, Wagner Hills 4H, and many others. Jack is a Rotary “Paul Harris Fellow” for his “Service Above Self”

What got you interested in politics and local government?
As is consistent with my volunteer experience, serving on council is another way I want to give back to my community. I have been considering running for local government for a long time and now the time in my personal and business life permits me to run for Mayor.

Why did you decided to run for council this election?
I have witnessed the turmoil on council over the last 3 years under the present Mayor and believe that I can bring the necessary leadership skills and more accountability to council.

What are your priorities for the next council if you are elected?
Initiate an annual strategic planning session that includes the leaders of our Langleys. Included would be school board, our MLA's, our MP, and the City of Langley.

Initiate a transportation advisory board to address the transportation issues facing Langley both within the township and regional issues that impact Langley.
Expand economic development in Langley to increase our economic base and economic activity.

Bring accountability to the office of mayor.

What are your unique skills that would be valuable on Council?
20 years as a Vancouver Policeman and over 30 years building a successful business has provided experiences in conflict resolution, negotiation, labour issues, financial management and leadership.

What is do you think is/would be the most challenging aspect for you sitting on Council?
Reaching consensus with the community on complex issues. There are many divergent points of view on many issues that can be challenging for council to appease everyone while addressing the needs of the community at large.

Why should somebody vote for you over the other candidates?
I bring a lifetime of experience from the business world, public service as a police officer, over 32 years living and volunteering in the Township of Langley.

What do you love about Langley?
The sense of community spirit. A good example was the 2010 summer games when thousands of people volunteered to bring the most successful games ever to Langley. The rural flavour of Langley also gives our community a unique environment.

What are some of the challenges that Langley faces and what do you plan to do to address those challenges?
Langley is growing and needs careful planning to address the future needs of the residents. New developments have to be planned to allow for sustainable and liveable neighbourhoods. Bus networks, pedestrian and bicycle friendly neighbourhoods and roads are a priority. I will work with our planning department and the businesses that develop Langley into the type of neighbourhood that we want.

How do you think that Langley can meet its Sustainability goals?
Involvement of the community and the leadership from council will keep the goals on track and moving forward. Annual reporting to council on the progress of the goals will provide direction on addressing issues as they arise. A commitment from council to achieve our goals and set new ones must continue.

How do you plan on striking a balance between keeping taxes low and improving service?
Every service has a cost and benefit. Taxpayers needs must be addressed by providing the necessary services while looking at where our tax dollars go. Setting a goal of maintaining taxes at the rate of inflation is a good place to start, but the needs of the community must come first. Langley is in a period of growth and the costs to grow put pressure on keeping taxes low. A long term, balanced approach to providing new services and improving existing services must be taken.

With TransLink now looking for long-term funding, what are some of the option that you think should be explored?
Tolling bridges that is fair and evenly distributed would alleviate congestion on bridges that are not tolled while tolled bridges are under utilized, this could also add revenue to the transit system. A funding system that does not put added pressure on residents that do not get the transit services, such as in rural Langley. Gas taxes need to be a part of the funding, but at the present levels, not increased. More emphasis should be placed on taxation systems that spread the burden more fairly, like a percentage of the sales tax or property taxes which impact everyone, not just those that must rely on their cars.

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