B.C. education minister George Abbott — by far the most Revelstoke-connected senior member of the BC Liberal government — confirmed today he won’t be running again in 2013. Abbott has spent 30 years in public life, starting with time on the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District board. Abbott visited Revelstoke for the official opening of the new Revelstoke Secondary School in late 2011. He noted his connection to Revelstoke dates back to high school days, when he competed here in team sports.
Abbott took a run at the BC Liberal Party leadership in 2011, finishing third behind Christy Clark and Kevin Falcon.
The Shuswap MLA issued the following statement via the BC Liberal Caucus this morning. In his own words:
— Aaron Orlando
Statement by Hon. George Abbott, Minister of Education and MLA for Shuswap
VICTORIA – Today, I am announcing my decision not to seek a renewed nomination to run as a candidate for the riding of Shuswap in the May 2013 provincial election.
While I do not come upon this decision lightly, I do so with a strong sense of accomplishment and gratification from my more than 30 years in public life.
Having started as an elected member of local government, being elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1996, and then having the honour to serve as a member of Executive Council in areas such a local government, resource development, health and education, I feel extremely fortunate for the trust that has been bestowed upon me by local electors, my peers, and my Premiers over the years. This has truly been the experience of a lifetime for me. But all things must come to an end, and I believe the time has come for me to pursue different opportunities and challenges.
I want to first extend my gratitude to the constituents of the Shuswap riding for providing me with the opportunity to serve as their MLA for the last four terms. I also want to thank my constituency assistants, my riding organization, and the many local volunteers and supporters who have dedicated their time and their patience to assisting me in better serving the Shuswap.
I thank my friends and colleagues within the BC Liberal caucus — both past and present — for their continued dedication to our party and our government, and for the many personal friendships that I will continue to value for the years to come.
I want to extend my sincere gratitude to Premier Christy Clark for the honour of serving in her cabinet as Minister of Education for the past 18 months – this has been one of the highlights of my public service career. I firmly believe that under her leadership, we will not only see the next BC Liberal candidate successfully elected in the Shuswap riding, but the re-election of a BC Liberal government in 2013.
I want to recognize all of the BC public servants I have had the pleasure of working with. Their dedication, professionalism, and commitment to our province are exemplary. I have always strived to develop the strongest partnership possible with our public service so that together we are able to build public policy that benefits all citizens.
Finally, I want to thank my wife Lesley, my children and my family for the years of support they have provided me in pursuing my dream of making a difference in public life. My recent experience vying for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party reinforced for me what a significant honour it is to serve the citizens of this province, but also what a sacrifice it requires from the families of those who choose to serve. I could not have done any of this without their support, and I am eternally grateful.
In closing, while I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve my constituents through until May 2013, I equally look forward to lending my support to the next candidate for the riding of Shuswap who will continue to build upon the great opportunities within my home region and across the province in 2013 and beyond.