It looks like she’s willing to settle for being number two.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson’s announcement last Monday that she would seek a sixth term this November didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who keeps tabs on municipal hall in Ladner. Although she was reluctant to confirm it any earlier than she did, all signs, including campaign fundraising having already begun in earnest, pointed to yet another re-election bid.
The bigger question was how much longer the veteran politician, who has been on Delta council almost continuously since the early 1970s, would continue to occupy the mayor’s chair. She answered that one on Sept. 8 as well by declaring the upcoming term, provided she’s re-elected, will be her last.
Her history of fending off challengers, coupled with a dearth of opponents this time around, suggests there’s no reason to think voters won’t return her two months from now.
If that’s the case, she’ll continue her climb up Delta’s record book. During
the current term, Jackson passed William Henry Ladner to move into third spot on the list of longesttenured Delta mayors. Ladner, who was Delta’s first reeve back in 1880, served on six different occasions for a total of 14 years.
When Jackson completes this term, she will have served for 15 years, which will equal the run of John Kirkland, who presided over Delta in the 1940s and ’50s. Should she get re-elected and finish out the next term, which will be a four-year one, it would bring her time in the municipality’s top job to 19 years, which would put her in second place by
herself, but still well short of the record held by Alex Paterson.
Those who marvel, and for good reason, at Jackson’s longevity will surely be in awe of Paterson, who was Delta’s reeve (the English term was used until 1969 when it was replaced by mayor) for a whopping 27 years.
He was at the helm from 1914 to 1944, with the exception of a three-year stretch in the early 1920s.
Jackson, who has already made history by becoming the first woman elected to Delta council in 1972, will have to settle for second spot on the mayor’s list – assuming, of course, she doesn’t re-consider the decision about it being her final term and seeks a mandate beyond 2018.
That seems unlikely at this point, but if there were ever going to be a western version of Hazel McCallion, the 90-something mayor who has ruled Mississauga for the better part of four decades, Jackson would have to be a leading candidate.
Ted Murphy is the editor of Delta Optimist, a Now sister newspaper.