Veteran Kamloops councillor Lange won't run for fifth term

By James Peters
June 27, 2018 - 12:52pm Updated: June 27, 2018 - 5:29pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops Councillor Tina Lange is saying farewell.

"Four terms has been a heck of a ride and I'm really pleased. I've loved every minute of it."

After months of sitting on the fence, Lange has decided she will not run for a fifth term in the October municipal vote.

Lange says the death of former colleague Marg Spina and the anxiety of a municipal campaign gave her pause, but it was the reaction to a recent forum on women in civic politics that clinched her decision.

"I was so encouraged both at that event, with the women who were there and the comments that were made, and then the many conversations I've had afterward. There are lots of excited, passionate, brilliant women out there who want to be in politics. So I don't really think I'll be missed."

Lange notes there will be at least a couple of openings around the council table come October, and she hopes at least one of the many capable women in the city is voted in.

"Pat Wallace is not running; I'm not running. So people know that there's an opportunity there because incumbents definitely have an edge," said Lange.

While some councillors may shy away from controversy, that has never been the case for Lange, who has taken clear positions on issues as diverse as curbside recycling and the proposed Ajax mine.

She says seeing council pass controversial measures has been most gratifying.

"The pesticide bylaw was, strangely, the toughest, most controversial thing. I think it was even tougher than Ajax... maybe not, but it was terrible. The hate that was fired at me through that whole process was overwhelming. But we got it through, so I'm pretty proud of that."

After 13 years around the city hall horseshoe, Lange says much has changed, chiefly the amount of time eaten up every week by council business.

"It's taking a tremendous amount more of my time. It used to be that if you were really busy - and running a business, I was always really busy - you could get away with 15 to 20 hours a week. Now it's 30-plus hours and a lot of that time is spent simply responding to people."

She adds those controversial stances have made her the target of personal attacks, and people are far more likely to share them with her via social media than they would have been at the beginning of her council career.

"People get to say things that they wouldn't say to your face," said Lange. "It's a lot of very personal attacks. That's been a change. I know that they were saying those things behind my back, but it's getting tougher to read them every day."

Even with that hostility, Lange says she remains optimistic about the direction of the city and it's local government.

"I look at the changes that have happened, just in the past 13 years. I can drive around town or walk around and see so much development, so many positive changes in this community. If I look at just what's coming up over the next year for development, the city's growing, it's planned very well. Yeah, I think we've got a very, very bright future here."

In addition to Lange and Wallace deciding not to run, Councillor Ray Dhaliwal has indicated he is leaning toward challenging Ken Christian for the mayor's chair.

B.C. residents go to the municipal polls October 20.

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