Jean Bota is looking to represent represent Red Deer County Division 2 after declaring her candidacy in the upcoming municipal election.
“I think we live in one of the best areas in the world,” she said. “We have central location; we are on the QEII; we are easily accessed by rail and road; we have almost 20,000 residents, which is still growing and I think many of us are living in the best of both worlds with agriculture, business and residential areas.
“I see Red Deer County as a leader and I know that because I hear a lot of other counties who come to us for different things. We have a tremendous amount of stuff going on and I’m amazed at something everyday.”
Bota believes she can continue to be a strong advocate for the needs of the County.
“A lot of it is strong communities,” she said. “I have always been an advocate for that because community is everything. I feel strongly about safe, empowered communities. That includes business communities, acreage subdivision communities and rural communities.”
Part of being a strong community is forging partnerships with other municipalities, according to Bota.
“It is the same with the continued collaboration with neighbouring communities. We have done a lot of work with that and I believe we can even do more. When they are strong, we are all strong,” she said.
Bota believes that fiscal matters need to be handled with caution.
“It is one thing to say you are going to cut, but we have to do spending that is wise and looks to the future,” she said. “We have to look at how this will affect future generations and development. We need to be cautious but also looking at the big picture.”
One of the biggest issues facing many municipalities across Alberta is crime and Bota believes County needs to advocate for new solutions to this ongoing issue.
“We are hearing that all the time, everyday that people aren’t feeling safe and people are being traumatized,” she said. “We need to do something with the justice system. We talked about it in council and I feel strongly that we need to advocate for other avenues. We have to do something to get attention towards this big issue. Rural communities are feeling vulnerable.”
Another key issue, Bota noted, is creating connections between rural and urban communities and also helping people have a better understanding of agriculture and where their food comes from. Part of this connection is the creation of a year-round farmers’ market.
“We need a year-round farmers’ market. That is evident and there has been a lot of talk about it for a long time,” she added.
Bota feels the relationship of this past County mayor and council was progressive.
“We are a very strong, spirited group of people and we don’t always agree,” she said. “We have, in the last four years, worked on making sure everything runs smoothly. There is a lot of respect for each other’s decisions. When you have people who speak their mind – it makes for good dialogue.
“At the end of the day, this is about taking care of the whole County.”
Bota said it is very important for the County to continue to take care of infrastructure throughout the region.