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Election generates community involvement

Posted on September 12, 2013 by Taber Times

A side benefit of the municipal election season is the opportunity it presents for local issues to be brought to the forefront.

As the nomination day approaches, Sept. 23, there is increased talk in the local coffee shops, on the post office steps and anywhere in town where people naturally congregate.

For a short time comments about the weather, generally the gold standard for conversation starters, are replaced by speculation over who is running for town council and the mayor’s seat and what their chances might be to win in the October voting.

It’s too bad this level of interest doesn’t carry over, for the most part, to the rest of the municipal term. Unless council approves a major tax increase or decides to close down a recreation facility, most voters tend to forget about municipal politics until the next election rolls around.

There are always a handful of people in every community who actually follow the local issues and remain interested in the workings of their municipal council but they are all to often, few and far between.

Certainly running for a seat on council and then winning can be a thankless job. Those on council have to have both broad shoulders and thick skins, as they will be criticized to some degree no matter which way a council decides to go on any given issue, project or program implemented in their community.

Pleasing the electorate is never an easy task because there are always at least two sides to every issue and voting one way or the other will certainly create both favourable and non-favourable responses from the public.

If taxpayers realized just how little of their tax dollars a municipality has to work with, after covering the costs of actually running the municipality, they would realize what a difficult task it is to decide what programs and projects will operate in a community.

With that said, more interest is needed in municipal politics. It is encouraging to see a person who was defeated in the last town municipal election in Laura Ross-Giroux throw her hat back in the political ring, fully engrossed in the political process of wanting to serve her community.

While some incumbents are keeping their political cards close to their chest for now, down the hall at the M.D. each councillor has verbally made their intentions known to the The Times for re-running. We have a local candidate who The Times will feature later who has shown interest in running for Holy Spirit School Division and there will be new blood for Horizon School Division with two long-time trustees confirming stepping down. There will also be some new blood for Vauxhall town council with some not seeking re-election.

It is an exciting time for the political process locally, as elections near in October, but an official candidates listing will not be known until after the Sept. 23 nomination. Let’s hope, that in the final two weeks remaining before nomination day, a handful of fence-sitters in our various communities will give serious consideration to putting their names forward to run for a seat on council. With a new four-year term a lot can happen in a community. The electorate needs to give serious consideration to the politicians they want representing them.

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