Five Red Deerians have already announced their intention to run as candidates in the fall election.
Two of them are throwing their hats into the ring to vie for the job now held by Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.
Brad Magee and Jeremy Moore have filed nomination papers to run for mayor in the October 2021 election.
Magee, a former oilfield supervisor who now works as a truck driver, has started a “Brad Magee for Change” Facebook page. It outlines his concerns about suffering small businesses and people struggling with finances and mental health.
The 37-year-old father of three daughters said he’s consulting with a 15-person team of people from all walks of life to get feedback on local issues. Magee wants to focus on reducing crime, helping the homeless, and stimulating economic diversification and job creation.
He finds it troubling that Edgar Industrial Park is now a “ghost town,” saying, “I’d like to see what we can do bring in more more economic diversification” to help the 22,000 unemployed people in Red Deer.
Moore, an electrician who runs his own company, said he’s always had a passion for politics. “This is a great time to run because the community is looking for change.”
The 44-year-old married father of six said he wants to crack down on crime, which has impacted his business and many others. “People don’t feel safe” walking alone in the downtown or even in public parks, he added.
Moore also believes in providing more local economic stimulation as ”there are a lot of distressed businesses and some people are barely holding on.”
Three nominations have been filed, so far, for city council positions.
Graham Barclay, a business consultant, father and soon-to-be-stepfather, said he wants to work for the betterment of the city by combining his business knowledge with what he’s learned from sitting on various community boards — including the Canadian Mental Health Association, Bridges Community Living and the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce.
“A lot of citizens have been unhappy. I want to add some positivity to the city and create a more upbeat impression of what Red Deer is,” said Barclay, who feels his being able to see things from different perspectives would be an asset on council.
Sheyi Olubowale, a physiotherapist and business owner, said he wants to become a city councillor because “I care for people…
“As a city, I feel we can do better caring for those who are less visible,” said the married father of three, referring to the elderly, people with mental health issues, new immigrants, and other little-heard-from groups.
Olubowale, who has volunteered with Potter’s Hands Ministry, has many senior clients. He feels “they should be honoured…they are the foundation of our society” and have paved the way for our way of life.
Matt Chapin, a former cook who is now a caregiver, has been a candidate in local elections going back to 2007. This year he is running for two positions: for city councillor and for Red Deer Public School Board trustee.
Chapin, 34, said he is concerned about the lack of supports for students with mental health problems in schools.
He is also worried about the amount of municipal spending that goes towards special events, such as the Canada Winter Games, instead of other priorities that could help the city over a longer term. Chapin feels an important goal should be starting a Red Deer police force to help deal with crime.
So far, no incumbents on city council or the school boards have announced whether they intend to run for re-election. But there’s a lot of time for them to submit their papers.
Returning officer Frieda McDougall said nominations will be accepted until Sept. 20.
Candidates must file their nomination papers before they can start fundraising for their campaigns. But they can start campaigning whenever they want, said McDougall — only election signs cannot be erected until after Sept. 20.
McDougall believes it’s a good sign for democracy whenever people express an interest in running for election.