Randy Hawes is winding down his political career as the provincial election campaign ramps up.
The current MLA for Abbotsford-Mission packed up his Victoria office last month and will be closing down his First Avenue facility at the end of May when he retires from public office after close to 20 years.
Hawes was elected three times to represent his community on the provincial level and also served close to three terms as mayor prior.
“I’ve not run out of ideas,” said Hawes on his departure from the political scene. “It seems I’ve run out of people in Victoria to listen to them.”
Everyone has a “best before date,” added Hawes, but that’s only part of the reason why he’s leaving. “I haven’t been happy for quite some period of time about what we’re doing.”
Hawes says the Liberals, under Christy Clark, have been campaigning rather than governing for the last couple of years. “It’s extremely disappointing,” he noted.
However, Hawes is hopeful the election will introduce new faces and ideas.
Looking back, Hawes has had a hand in developing Mission over the past 20 years.
Some of his notable accomplishments include developing the Junction Mall and bringing in the West Coast Express as mayor, to building the Cedar Valley Connector and expanding Highway 11 as MLA.
However, there is unfinished business, which Hawes will continue to fight for, such as dredging the Fraser River to make it navigable and safe, and changing the way addiction services are run in B.C.
“Government needs to fund residential care for those who want to get off [drugs and alcohol] on an abstinence-base,” the retiring MLA insisted.
In addition to returning to school to become a mediator, Hawes says he will continue to volunteer and be involved in the community.
“For me, retirement is not an option. I’m going to keep learning; it’s what life’s all about.”
Hawes says it has been an honour serving people in Mission and Abbotsford, and offered some advice to his colleagues during his final sitting in the legislature.
“Sometimes your conscience gets in the way of what your party wants. My advice is to follow your conscience, even if you get in trouble with your party.”