A life-long Red Deer County resident who gave Earl Kinsella a major scare in the 2007 mayoralty election race is once again seeking the municipality’s top chair.
Debra Hanna, 53, who lives 10 kms south of Benalto, announced last week she is making a bid to become mayor of the County this fall.
She joins current councilor Jim Wood and former councilor Stan Bell as confirmed candidates for the mayor’s seat on council.
Kinsella, who defeated Hanna by 252 votes in 2007 and became the County’s first elected mayor, announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election.
Hanna said her reasons for running for mayor in 2007 were because “people wanted change, new ideas and new looks.”
And while Hanna still believes that is true in 2010 she says the fact she has not been on council before will be an advantage for her in the race.
“I can come in and ask the question ‘Why are things being done this way,” said Hanna. “In the explanation of why things are being done that is where you can create change.”
She said the County needs a leader that can better communicate with rural residents and who is committed to speeding up bureaucratic processes.
She noted fast delivery of County service is especially important in her area around Benalto where hamlet residents have been waiting for three years for municipal approval of additional housing.
“Three years for me is way too long for a developer to have to wait to get permission to start building,” said Hanna. “The economy bottomed out and is climbing again during that time but it has cost him (the developer).”
Hanna also believes that a major issue on the minds of County residents is the preservation of the municipality’s infrastructure.
“We need to save our roads. A lot of people who have moved into the County rely on those roads to get to work every morning and they need to be in decent shape during the summer and they need to be ploughed of snow in a timely fashion in the winter time,” said Hanna. “If that snow came in Sunday night and isn’t ploughed until Friday some of those people have missed a day’s work if it was a bad storm. We need to look at getting our services out there a lot quicker.”
Hanna said the County also needs more post-recession economic activity, noting the municipality needs to build up its industrial tax base after losing large areas of land to the City of Red Deer.
“We have lost that tax base and we need to gain some of that back,” said Hanna.