Former Maple Ridge mayor Mike Morden said the elector organization he heads, Maple Ridge First, is not dissolving after three of its four incumbents council members lost at the polls on Oct. 15.
Coun. Judy Dueck was the sole MRF politician to be sent back to city hall in the municipal election, while Chelsa Meadus, Ryan Svendsen and Morden were all defeated, as Mayor Dan Ruimy’s slate called A Better Maple Ridge effectively took over council.
“MRF exists to advocate for the well being of our city, and the needs of our citizens,” said Morden. “The mandate of the organization is to endorse any individual, particularly during elections, who meet two key principles: one to honour and obey all the laws of our land, and the second to act and make their decisions as individuals in the sole best interest of our citizens.”
Going forward, the public can expect MRF to continue to be active as an organization, he added.
Even with his recent election loss, Morden is thankful to Maple Ridge, after two terms as a city councillor and a third as mayor.
“I’ve lived 36 years in our fair city, it has given my family and I great opportunity,” he said. “I’ll never forget the first day I came out here to visit with my wife (Hilary) in search of an affordable place to raise a family – a much taller order these days. We knew right away this community was right for us. Like so many residents who tell their story, it’s such a beautiful place, has a great community feel, has historic roots, and presents families great opportunity.”
He is a onetime local business owner, and said entrepreneurs generally have a desire to build a strong community.
“As a Rotarian since 1991, part of the oath one takes is to serve others before self,” said Morden. “To now have served my citizens for three terms in local government has been my greatest honour.”
At the last meeting of Morden’s council, which had tearful moments for the departing councillors, Dueck honoured Morden as a hard-working mayor.
“The mayor’s role is often fraught with citizens reaching out for help,” she said. “The work of mayor is very hard. You worked non-stop on behalf of the citizens of Maple Ridge. You put your heart and soul into the mayor’s role. You helped many people, and went above and beyond to ensure that the people who reached out to you had resolution to their issues.”
What’s next? Only time will tell, said Morden, adding “to give of one’s time in service of others is the best gift one can make.”
Morden said his family has recently gone through a period of severe difficulty, with various health concerns. As he transitions back to the life of a private citizen, that’s where his attention will be.
“Public office always takes a toll,” he said. “They supported me, right now I have a lot of repayment to do if that makes sense.”
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