UPDATE: Besler joins Chilliwack trustee race

Ben Besler running for Chilliwack school board byelection to be held November 30.

Ben Besler runs for Chilliwack school trustee byelection to be held on Nov. 30.

Ben Besler runs for Chilliwack school trustee byelection to be held on Nov. 30.

Ben Besler is leaving his partisan politics behind in his push for school trustee.

Besler announced Monday morning he’d be running for the vacant spot on Chilliwack school board in the Nov. 30 byelection.

Besler, a small business owner, has an extensive history with the BC Conservative Party and recently with the BC Liberal Party.

In 2009, he ran for MLA as a conservative. He was also president of the Chilliwack chapter of the BC Conservative Party from 2009-2011, and vice president from 2011-2012. Earlier this year, he switched camps and became campaign director for John Martin’s run for Liberal MLA, and then vice president of the Chilliwack chapter of the BC Liberal Party.

But those affiliations, he said, have no place on school board.

“I’m happy to finally get out of the partisan politicking,” Besler told The Progress.

“I’m 100 per cent committed to keeping school board non-partisan.”

Something he believes has been an ongoing issue for the current board.

“You can’t get a lot done at this level if you start to create division,” he said. “We should all just be able to put kids first and have that at the forefront of what we’re doing. It’s about the kids, it’s not about partisan affiliations.”

Besler has three daughters in the Chilliwack school system, one in kindergarten, one in Grade 3, and one in Grade 12. His middle child has autism.

In addition to running a small roofing business, Besler is a member of the school district’s Special Education Advisory Committee, a director for the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, and member of the BC Partners in Education.

His campaign platform is focused on improving special education and fiscal responsibility.

“I believe that my experience from various volunteer boards, school district committee, and collaboration with parents and ministerial decision makers can make a positive difference on the Chilliwack school board,” he said. “I want to help support and strengthen the school board’s objectives in creating a better learning environment and higher standard of education for all of our students.”

Besler joins Dan Coulter, vice president of the Chilliwack-Hope NDP riding, Karen Jarvis, and Corey Neyrinck in the trustee candidate race.

Nomination period ends this Friday at 4 p.m.