Cindy Jefferies running for mayor of Red Deer
Third-term Red Deer city Coun. Cindy Jefferies is throwing her hat into the mayoral race.
Jefferies confirmed on Tuesday that her name will be on the ballot in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
“I’ve given it quite a bit of thought over the last nine or 10 months,” said Jefferies. “It’s a natural step for me to take.”
Jefferies said now that her three sons are older, the timing is right for her to take on more responsibility.
“I think I can provide some leadership in the mayor’s chair,” said Jefferies. “I think a lot of people thought this was coming. It’s really just announcing what I intend to do. Certainly it will be a while before our campaign runs out in full swing.”
Jefferies was first elected in 2004, along with Coun. Tara Veer, who is rumoured to be making a bid for mayor, too. Veer said on Tuesday it is too early for her to announce her intentions.
Jefferies said advocacy and strengthening relationships at the local, provincial and federal levels will be part of her mandate.
“It’s time for Red Deer to be noticed and be on the map,” said Jefferies, who turns 50 in June. “We play a key role in the province and will continue to play an important role. I think we can make a little more noise about that.”
Mayor Morris Flewwelling has announced he’s not running again. He said it would not be appropriate for him to endorse any one candidate, particularly if more than one person from the current council is running.
“I must say, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Flewwelling, who has sat on council for 21 years as either mayor or councillor. “I know what it takes. She would be the strongest candidate of those who have declared so far.”
Also running for mayor are newcomers Chad Mason and Matt Chapin, who announced their intentions late last year.
Flewwelling said he doesn’t think someone without recent municipal experience could expect to run and win the mayor’s seat.
“If they were able to know just what is involved and the load that it is, I think they would say ‘I better go to council first and earn my spurs on council. Then decide there’s a time I should run for mayor,’ ” said Flewwelling.
Jefferies sits on several committees, including: audit, Downtown Business Association of Red Deer, Westerner Exposition Board, Emergency Management, Governance and Policy and Municipal Planning Commission.
She previously spent nine years on the Red Deer Public School District board, six as chairperson, and at one time she was the Business/Education Partnership program co-ordinator at the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce. She is married and has three sons aged 15, 18 and 20.
Flewwelling said a successful mayoral candidate needs to know his or her community, enjoy working with people and be able to lead without crushing, and be a community builder with vision.
“If Cindy and Tara both decide to run, we’re going to lose one of them,” said Flewwelling. “And both of them are strong voices on council.”