Three running as slate for city council

Harolynne Bobis, Rhonda Salerno and Gail Fleming are running for Langley City Council as a slate.

Three candidates who are running for different positions on the Langley City Council announced this week that they will be running as a slate.

The city council hopefuls who have aligned themselves are Harolynne Bobis, who is seeking Position 1; Rhonda Salerno, who is running unopposed for Position 2 and Gail Fleming, who has declared herself a write-in candidate for Position 5.

The trio said they have come together over a set of like-minded topics: environmental preservation, affordable housing and social justice.

“We call ourselves Team Langley,” Salerno said. “We all bring different things to the table but yet we’re all very similar in our values.”

All three women currently serve on different citizen-led committees in Langley that advise the city council. Bobis is a member of one of the city’s newest boards, the Dismantling Systemic Racism advisory group.

Salerno and Fleming both serve as the chairperson of their respective committees, the Planning Advisory Board and the Parks and Open Space Commission.

The first-time elected office seekers said they have realized they can transfer their experience from city committees to the city council, if elected.

“If I can put that much energy and time into public service, I want it to be as effective as possible,” Fleming said. “The council is the only body in our government that really has any say.”

Although they are aligned on similar issues, they each plan to do much of the campaigning on their own. In Salerno’s case, she has committed herself to a zero waste campaign.

“Some things we’ll do together, some things we won’t,” Bobis said. “We have three different schedules, three different lives.”

Fleming said they might create a campaign sign or something similar that lists all three of their names.

“Obviously, I am the one that would benefit the most from that,” the write-in candidate said.

Salerno added that declaring the slate is more about lifting each other up and learning from one another.

“I don’t think it’s a typical slate,” Bobis said. “It’s sort of like voting a straight ticket.”

Bobis added, “People who know Rhonda, they have an idea what she stands for, where she’s coming from. And people who know Gail, same thing. I’m the newcomer. I’ve only been here eight years.”

Kay Kenneweg, who’s running against Bobis, referred to the slate as a “sorority.”

“They’re getting what they think is the essence of Langley,” Kenneweg said. “I find everyone should have a voice on the council.”

Kenneweg said she had received an email from a friend of one of the candidates who is part of the slate. The email asked her to withdraw her candidacy, which she is not planning to do.

“The slate, I’m concerned about it,” Kenneweg said. “That’s why I’m running still.”

She added, “City council is stronger with more diverse opinions.”

Tony Gill, who is running for Position 5 on the council, did not return a request for comment by press time.