A born and raised Red Deerian, Jordy Smith is throwing his hat into the ring for a spot on City council this fall.
“I have lived here my whole life. I attended Lindsay Thurber and then I actually moved away for three years to Texas to attend school. Through that I started becoming politically interested and more politically involved,” he said. “I came back to Red Deer about two years ago and just with my time here I saw more of an interest and a growing need for what our City needs.
“I wasn’t originally going to run at all and then about two months ago (my wife) and I decided we should pray about this and see if this is something we should do.
“We felt like this is a good step for us and this feels like where we need to go right now,” said Smith, who works at Impact Life Church in Red Deer.
“Whether we win or lose we know it will be great experience and I’m looking forward to the process. At the very least it will be great to bring up some issues that need to be talked about in the City. That is really my main goal – let’s bring these issues to the forefront.”
He added one of the biggest issues that has come up when he has spoken to Red Deerians is how the City does not have a ward system.
“City council runs to represent the whole City and not individual sections. It’s really interesting how many people don’t know that when I tell them,” said Smith. “Looking throughout Canada, most places have wards or divisions to have that representation.
“The problem with that is say you live in Glendale and you see an issue that you need the City to deal with, you don’t have a specific representative you can go to on council. I believe having wards would really balance out where our City is focused.”
Smith said another issue he would like to focus on if elected is drug addiction.
“The biggest issue with that is Red Deer does not have a drug rehabilitation centre, we have a detox centre, but not drug rehabilitation,” he said. “Drug addiction has really only increased since the economy fell.”
Smith said he will be zoning in on homelessness in Red Deer as well.
“While I’ll admit that looking at our numbers, Red Deer’s homeless population is about average throughout Canada. It feels like it has grown larger,” he said. “I think the number is officially 145 and I looked at all the homeless shelters in Red Deer – right now they can only fill about 85 per cent of that need.
“One thing I have been emphasizing is how both with the drug and homeless issue, is that these are Red Deer citizens for the most part.
“Some people do come in, but most of them are originally from Red Deer. In the past, some of the mood has been, well if you take away some of these services, they will just leave, but that doesn’t happen, this is their home,” he said, adding the bureaucratic system for the homeless needs to be simplified in the City.
“One of the number one reasons homeless people don’t get off the street right now is because they can’t navigate the bureaucracy on where to go. So if we can simplify and centralize that, that would help as well.”
In addition, Smith said he has a lot to bring to the table if elected.
“Being one of the younger candidates, I definitely bring a fresh perspective,” he said. “Being born and raised in Red Deer is an attribute as well. I also live right downtown, so I get to see more of that perspective of Red Deer rather than the south and far north end. And working for a non-profit church, we encounter a lot of the drug and homeless issues as well and some of those more central city issues.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there and meeting everyone and getting more in touch with the issues.”