Ken Johnston

Longtime businessman enters council race

  • May. 22, 2013 3:24 p.m.

A longtime Red Deer businessman who has been involved in community work has announced his candidacy for City council.

Ken Johnston said since announcing his retirement a few weeks ago as branch manager sales and service at the Scotiabank, he now has the time to dedicate to the position if he is elected.

“I have a love for the City. You can’t run for office and not love the City and not want to have a stake in its future. The causes I have been involved in, the board work I’ve done has helped me form a good cross-section of knowledge of the City and get an understanding for different points of view and get a good understanding for what people are concerned about,” he said, as for the reasons he has decided to run for council.

During his nearly four decades in the banking industry, Johnston spent 16 of those years working in the City’s downtown at the Scotiabank branch.

“It was those 16 years downtown that really shaped my view of Red Deer because you’re privileged in the bank to talk to people from every strata of life from students to professionals, to farmers to small business owners, to pensioners to the homeless.”

Johnston has spent time with a number of different organizations in the City including Rotary where he has served as president and being elected to the board at the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, as well as Parkland Youth Homes, the Westerner board where he chaired the audit and finance committee and the STARS cabinet. He also helped to found Berachah Place and has done work with the Red Deer Hospice, CNIB and the Women’s Outreach, among others.

Johnston said this is the first time that he has considered running for council but has had an interest in politics for a number of years.

“I have a passion for politics and a passion for governance. In terms of knowing political issues I’ve always been keenly interested in that.”

Johnston said there are a number of issues he would like to tackle during his campaign and if he is elected.

“One of the things I really want to focus on is engaging the community associations in the City. I want to empower them to have more of a voice. You get people involved on a grassroots level and you are better able to make the best and broadest decisions possible,” he said. “I would also like us to take more of a forward action on the policing study that was done. There are some great action steps in that study and some have been taken and the intent is to take more. But I would like to see us be more visible with the policing study.

“The other one I have my eye on is the whole issue of the Riverlands development. It is arguably the best piece of real estate in Canada when you think about the river going through there, the escarpment there and you also have to look at it and say the City has an opportunity to spin a development, to work with the private sector and provincial partners to do a world-class development there.”

He added there are also a number of attributes he would bring to council if elected.

“Certainly there is the professional attributes in terms of the financial side of my training. There is the ability to look at budgets and to look at capital spending plans, to look at development plans and operational budget issues,” he said. “There is also the ability to look at real estate developments and developments from a banking perspective. But also my exposure to the social side of our community. I have quite a heart for the social side of our community.”

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