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Independent candidate to run in upcoming New West byelection

Shawn Sorensen, who is running for school board, says he's a local dad with a "do-it-yourself mentality"

Shawn Sorensen, a local parent, has announced his intention to run in the anticipated upcoming byelection to replace former school trustee Dee Beattie. shawndsorensen.ca

A second name has been put forward in the upcoming byelection to replace former school trustee Dee Beattie.

Shawn Sorensen, who has a young child in the New Westminster school system, says he is planning to run as an independent.

The byelection—which has not been officially called as of deadline—comes after Beattie was revealed on Tuesday to have stepped down after a months-long medical leave of absence.

Beattie took the medical leave of absence after she confirmed to local New West media, including The Anchor, that she had been behind an X/Twitter account that harassed a number of members of the local community.

“Without the financial backing or pressure of a political party, he is looking to our community as well as his friends, peers, and family for creative ways to get his name and message out there,” a statement sent to The Anchor on behalf of Sorensen reads.

“This election won’t be focused on fundraising for me,” Sorensen continues in the statement. “I don’t expect families to donate funds so that I can print my name and photo on pamphlets and lawn signs. We are watching every dollar just like most families I know. So we’re going to have to think of ways to let voters know that I’m here to represent their needs and interests at the School Board level.”

Sorensen says he’s still in the process of building his website, though he is also taking comments, questions, and other related feedback through [email protected]. If he were to win, he’d be the lone Independent on the board.

The only other person who has announced their intent to run in the upcoming byelection is Kathleen Carlsen. Carlsen, who was a candidate in the last municipal election, will be running with the New Westminster Progressives.

If Carlsen were to win, she would join slate mate and current Trustee Danielle Connelly. Connelly is the only opposition trustee, with the Community First slate holding a majority in Marc Andres, Gurveen Dhaliwal, Maya Russell, Elliot Slinn, and Cheryl Sluis.

Community First—the party Beattie ran with in the 2022 municipal elections—says it will be vetting a new candidate and putting a name forward once it has made a selection.

Beattie is no longer a member of Community First and has moved out of the city to focus on her retirement.

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