Former Surrey mayor Linda Hepner to run for B.C. Conservatives

Linda Hepner, seen in this image taken from a video interview, has been nominated as the B.C. Conservative Party candidate in the upcoming provincial election in October for the new riding of Surrey-Serpentine River.

Former Surrey, B.C., mayor Linda Hepner is coming out of retirement in hopes of becoming an MLA in the new provincial riding of Surrey-Serpentine River.

The 75-year-old's announcement was handled on Thursday by the B.C. Conservative Party, which has nominated her as its candidate in the riding.

Her candidacy adds further interest to the race for the Surrey-Serpentine River seat, which will be contested for the first time in October.

The B.C. NDP has also nominated a high-profile candidate for the riding: Baltej Dhillon, known for a long career with the RCMP , during which time he became the first Mountie to wear a turban as part of the uniform.

Hepner told CBC News on Thursday that she's a Conservative, so the party was a natural fit for her, and she sees it as the most able to deliver on the issues of concern to her.

"It takes a lot to bring out of retirement, but frankly, what's going on right now cannot continue," she said.

Hepner said she was alarmed to hear that half of young people are considering leaving the province. She also raised the issue of the economy, generally, as one of the reasons she wants to re-enter politics.

She was first elected as a Surrey city councillor in 2005. She was re-elected as councillor until she successfully ran for the mayor's job in 2014 — the last time she mounted a political campaign.

Hepner says she offers 34 years of experience in local government, and "some of that common sense needs to be in provincial government."

B.C. United candidate withdraws

Meanwhile, the B.C. United party has lost its candidate for the riding.

Puneet Sandhar, a lawyer, had been announced as the party's nominee last summer. However, on Tuesday, Sandhar posted on social media that she was withdrawing from the race, citing the recent death of a close family member.

B.C. United confirmed on Thursday that it has yet to find a new nominee for Surrey-Serpentine River.