The question of whether Red Deer’s mayor will be running for another term in office remains hanging.
Mayor Tara Veer said on Thursday that she intends to announce at the end of August whether she will be seeking re-election on Oct. 18.
Two current city councillors, meanwhile, announced this week that they will not be seeking re-election.
Frank Wong said five terms is enough for him — especially in light of seemingly “unsolvable” recent issues, including where to locate the homeless shelter.
Tanya Handley also announced through social media that she will not be running again. While serving on council has been “an honour,” she stated that she believes in term limits for councillors.
So far, four new candidates have officially filed papers indicating they are running for mayor of Red Deer in the next municipal election: James Allen, a former cadet who’s held various jobs, joins businessman Dwight Hickey, former oilfield supervisor Brad Magee, and electrician and entrepreneur Jeremy Moore in the race.
Throwing their hats into the election ring this month are three new city council candidates: Calvin Campbell, Sarah Harksen, and Jozef Mihaly.
Campbell is a husband and father of seven, who has advocated for disability rights and awareness. He feels helping others navigate various social programs, at every level of government, has given him unique insight. He pledges to fight “on the front lines to help others rise above obstacles and make real changes for our community.”
“The provincial government has our city’s hands tied by not providing enough mental health resources — which is the only way we can solve the homelessness issues and high rate of substance abuse that cripples many of our families,” stated Campbell.
Harksen said she’s running for council because Red Deer needs change “and a new positive direction.”
With a degree in sociology and diploma as a legal assistant, the married mother of four stated she intends to fight for Red Deer citizens and businesses. “Covid has affected a big part of our economy… I would like to advocate that property taxes and businesses taxes have no increase for two years to help rebuild,” said Harksen, who also wants more affordable housing, better snow removal and road maintenance, and wants to look at getting a local police force.
Mihaly wants to bring his experience in retail management to represent “all hard-working citizens.
“I want to foster a prosperous environment to minimize the outward migration of youth and professionals that once viewed Red Deer as their forever home,” said Mihaly who moved to Canada with his parents over two decades ago.
Creating a welcoming environment for small businesses, re-energizing the job market, “breathing life into our beautiful downtown core,” and working with law enforcement to reduce the crime rate and increase rehabilitation and public safety are his goals, if elected.
The three new candidates are joining previously announced city council contenders: Graham Barclay, Kraymer Barnstable, Matt Chapin, Grace Joy Engel, Hans Huizing, Sadia Khan, Chad Krahn, Ryan Laloge, Lindsay LaRocque, Lawrence Lee (incumbent), Sheyi Olubowale, Janise Somer, and Dianne Wyntjes (incumbent).
Incumbent Red Deer Public Schools trustee Dianne Macaulay is now officially running for re-election. “I am passionate about public education,” said Macaulay. While the school board’s focus has slightly shifted for each of her terms in office, she said the foundation has always been the same: “Doing what is best for students…
“I believe school boards are accountable to the public… and (should be) encouraging the education debate,” added Macaulay, who pledges to continue being transparent “with every dollar and every policy our board makes.”
She’s in the race for a public school trustee seat with Matt Chapin, Matt Gould, Terri Grills, Meagan Parisian, and Jaelene Tweedle.
New candidate Fred Simoni is joining previously announced candidate Anne Marie Watson (incumbent) in vying for a seat on the Red Deer Catholic School Board.
Simoni is an Innisfail resident with children and grandchildren who believes in a Catholic education. “I want to see Christ at the heart of Catholic education in every classroom,” said Simoni, who has been involved at the parish level as a teacher and in faith study.
He has also been a music minister at Mass and has been involved with the elderly community at several seniors’ centres and lodges.
“I feel I have gifts and talents that I like to share with others, and with God’s grace develop a relationship with people and represent the area and district,” said Simoni.
The municipal election is on Oct. 18.