Candidate questionnaire: Simon Gibson (BC Liberals)

Abbotsford-Mission BC Liberal candidate Simon Gibson answers questions about the biggest issues

The News sent a questionnaire to all candidates in the three local ridings. Candidates were given strict word limits and instructed not to go over, lest their answers be cut off.

Name: Simon Gibson

Current occupation: MLA

Notable past achievements/titles/jobs: Instructor UFV and Trinity Western U; Marketing Manager; entrepreneur

Where do you live? In east Abbotsford (in the Abbotsford-Mission riding for 17 years)

If you have run for office before, what have you learned? If you have not, why are you running now? I have learned that good government begins with listening and caring for constituents. It means being optimistic and seeing the best in people.

I have found that hard work is required to be an effective representative, and that balance is essential (family should always be a priority).

Tell us about yourself. I.E.: Where were you born, where did you go to school/college etc., what jobs did you have over the years?

I have lived most of my life in BC – attended University in Victoria, Burnaby and Ottawa. I have taught a total of 16 years at the University level and also did contract teaching at the Justice Institute and Western Washington University. I was the marketing manager for a major credit union for eight years. I was the partner in an

Abbotsford-based manufacturing company with clients in the US and the east. I wrote a syndicated Human Resources column, Office Politics 101, which appeared in 24 BC newspapers, print and online. I am married to Joy and we have two daughters and three grandsons. I like long-distance running and have completed a number of marathons. I collect international license plates as a hobby.

Why would you make a good representative for your constituents in the legislature?

I have had the privilege of serving in elected office for many years. I have come to realize, more than ever, that politics is just another way to serve. It is putting people first and realizing that the opportunity to be elected is an honor. I have worked hard for the residents of the Abbotsford-Mission riding over the past four years and have succeeded in delivering on many projects related to transportation, diking/drainage, education, housing and community development.

What are the three most important issues facing Abbotsford and how would you address them?

1. The continuing economic health of our community.

People are attracted to Abbotsford and want to live and work here. Government will continue to support a business-friendly environment with opportunities for workers and families to succeed with well-paying jobs close to home . We have the lowest income tax rate for middle-income earners so that people keep more of what they earn. Recent changes to MSP will result in a 50 per cent saving for many British Columbians.

2. Education and Training.

Education is a key priority of the BC Liberals, demonstrated by our record $5.9 billion investment in public education for the 2017/18 school year (40% more than in 2000/01). We have completed a $9.8 million seismic upgrade to Yale Secondary. Training is critical to the future success of BC, we have targeted $14 million to create 3,730 additional trade seats . I take an active interest in the University and have advocated for new job-ready programs.

3. Public Safety.

Abbotsford is a safe community; however, recent incidents have alarmed the public, particularly in the Townline Hill area. Government has been working closely with our local police department and has allocated significant funds for the Guns and Gangs Strategy both here and in Surrey. I will continue to support efforts to discourage our young people from entering a life of crime with tragic consequences.

Tell us a surprising or unique story about yourself:

My dad wrote a number of novels – he has since passed away – and so I have always had the motivation to write a novel. More recently, however, I have turned my attention to writing a screenplay. I have completed the outline and the character descriptions – now comes that hard part: actually writing the script, which I hope to complete (in first draft) by the end of the year. My wife and family are encouraging me so I have the motivation. Is it about politics? That’s my secret!

Abbotsford is split into three ridings, all of which have changed a little since the last election. Click here for a map of the Abbotsford-Mission riding. Click here for a map of Abbotsford South. Click here for a map of Abbotsford West.