Ponoka Coun. Rick Bonnett is the first person to throw his hat into the municipality’s mayoral race.
The one-term councillor, Bonnett said he feels every mayor has a shelf life and after two or three terms, it is time for new blood at the top.
“The mayor’s been there for three terms and it’s not a personal thing,” said Bonnett. “I just feel it is time for some new blood leading the pack.”
On top of the need for change, Bonnett said Ponoka needs to improve its economic growth.
“I think we need to open up to business a little more,” said Bonnett. “I feel we’re still stuck in 1950s and 1960s in our thinking in our town.”
Bonnett was elected in 2009 to his first term. Since then, he has served on the recreation/parks and trails, economic development, protective services and heritage committees.
“The mayor is the go-to person for any business or anyone looking,” said Bonnett. “It gives you that much more where you can lead the agenda a little bit more.”
He is also a Ponoka Stampede liaison and, outside of council, he is part of the town’s doctor retention and attraction committee.
Because of recent changes to the municipalities act, mayors and councillors are now elected to four-year terms, as opposed to three years.
Current Mayor Larry Henkelman hasn’t decided if he is going to run again.
Henkelman has been on Ponoka town council on and off since 1980, serving 12 years as a councillor and nine as mayor.