Former City Councillor Vesna Higham is back in the running as she has announced her candidacy for this fall’s municipal election.
Higham sat on City council from 2001-2004. About six weeks before the 2004 election, Higham had her youngest child.
“At the time I was quite certain I would take a run in the next election, my youngest would have been three, but as things go with the dynamics of a family and as the kids got older and they were involved in more – the timing never felt right for our family,” she said. “The timing for me is just right, right now.”
Looking at her campaign, community safety and security is of highest priority for Higham.
“I think the City is on the right track – they have done a lot of things well. The introduction of an annual policing plan is something that I strongly support,” she said. “Property crime is the number one priority that is being targeted for in the 2017/2018 Policing Plan. In terms of the last two or three years property crime is what has been driving citizens’ sense of concern because it’s on the rise from four or five years ago.”
She added there needs to be greater connection between City Hall, City administration, City council and with the public and police in helping, advising and getting the message out of what citizens can do themselves.
“There is no magic bullet of tackling crime. One of the undercurrents that drives crime is the opiate addiction crisis. We desperately need an addiction centre here, so that we can give people back their lives and get them off the streets. So much of the property crime is fueled by addiction,” she said. “The very best we can hope for from City council is to have a vision of what direction can we take this issue in. My vision is for this multi-pronged approach that intersects all levels of government – council works with K-Division, council works with the federal government, council works and lobbies the provincial government.”
Higham said she would also advocate for fiscal financial stewardship if elected.
“I believe in balanced restraint and a common sense approach to spending our hard earned tax dollars,” she said, adding her and her husband have raised their children on a single household income for most of the last 23 years. “While our local economy shows signs of recovery, council must be guided by a cautious approach both on the capital and ongoing operations.”
Higham added another issue she would like to tackle is better cohesion of City buses.
“One of my pet peeves is looking at all these buses running around on their routes late at night empty. If we can look at the possibility of two fleets or having a second smaller fleet, that would be cheaper to run – whether it would actually work – that is something I would like to explore,” she said, adding she would also like to look at having one transit bus travel up and down Gaetz Ave. to help move people quicker and in a more efficient way.
Other issues Higham hopes to address if elected include synchronizing traffic lights throughout the City, the need at the Red Deer Regional Hospital and to continue to advocate for top-notch ambulance service.
Meanwhile, Higham said she is running for council because ultimately she wants to make a difference in the community.
“There are three words that describe me and my candidacy – integrity, experience and common sense. It’s what I bring to the table. I have a term on council and I think that is a huge thing – I know what it takes.”