RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Elenore Sturko running in pending Surrey byelection

A well-known face in Surrey is jumping into politics.

Sgt. Elenore Sturko, spokesperson for the Surrey RCMP, is running as the BC Liberal candidate for Surrey South.

"I intend to be a strong voice in Victoria, to pressure this government to follow through on a lot of the promises that they've already made, but they haven't delivered," she told CTV News.

She took an unpaid leave of absence to focus on her campaign and said some of her colleagues were surprised, but were supportive.

She said her 13-year career on the force has given her a unique perspective on key issues such as tackling the opioid crisis and public safety,

"I can tell you that the majority of individuals that are either arrested or who have been victimized by another person, there was a nexus there to either a mental health issue or an addictions issue, and which is why I think it's extremely important that we really strengthen British Columbia's chain of care," she said.

Sturko is being endorsed by Dianne Watts, a former Surrey mayor and former MP for South Surrey-White Rock.

"Elenore is very well connected in the community; she has a lot of grassroots support. And most definitely, she understands the issues within the community and in what needs to be done," Watts said.

The Surrey South seat became vacant last Thursday when Stephanie Cadieux resigned to become Chief Accessibility Officer of Canada.

So far, no other candidates have been named from the other parties.

NDP MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale Mike Starchuk said Sturko is a qualified candidate, but did not mince words about her party’s leader.

"What concerns me is that the people of Surrey need to remember the record of Kevin Falcon, and what he did, and how he came into Surrey, and what he did to the residents of Surrey," Starchuk said.

"He took care of the top one per cent with the tax cuts. He took care of his friends that were there, but what he did to Surrey is he put those unfair tolls on the bridges, and we've removed him and when we removed them.”

The byelection for the riding has not been officially called yet.

The B.C. government has six months to send voters to the polls.