Red Deer County will be under new leadership next month and the mayor’s race is beginning to heat up.
Earlier this year, Mayor Earl Kinsella announced he will not seek re-election.
Three County residents will have their name on the ballot for mayor including former Councillor Stan Bell, current Councillor Jim Wood and resident Debra Hanna.
Bell, who is hoping to make a comeback to municipal politics after being away from the scene since 2007, said his campaign has been going well so far.
“Running a mayoral campaign is a lot different than running for council,” he said. “The County is a huge area.”
He added one of the concerns he’s heard from residents include the disparity between divisions.
“A lot of time and energy has been put into the central area,” said Bell.
He added other concerns include roads and the future of agriculture.
“I like the challenge of leadership and I look forward to fulfilling that opportunity,” said Bell.
Meanwhile, Hanna said she is getting her signs out and the response from the residents has been positive.
She added if she is elected, there will be change at the County.
“I haven’t gotten used to the rhythm at the office, so I will be asking a lot of questions as to why things are done a certain way or why decisions are made,” said Hanna. “When you ask a lot of questions, you start to get change.”
She added as her campaign continues, the number one concern from residents that she is hearing is lack of communication between themselves and the County staff and council.
“People feel that the County does not want to answer their questions or concerns,” said Hanna. “That’s something I can promise will happen if I’m elected.
“I’m also hearing that people feel they have no access to County council and it’s very hard to get on the council agenda. That’s something I can change.”
In addition, Wood, who has held a council seat for the last two terms is hoping to make the jump to the mayor’s chair.
“Through the past two terms I’m very aware of the happenings of the County,” he said. “The last two terms have prepared me to be a leader of Red Deer County.”
He said during the course of his campaign he believes that residents want the County to spend their tax dollars wisely.
“Roads are always an issue too and I believe we need to work towards expanding our paved road network and continue to repair roads that are in need,” said Wood.
In addition, each County division has at least two people eyeing a spot on council.
In Division 1, Philip Massier, John Perry and Philip Reay are taking a run. In Division 2, Jean Bota-Kuntz, Donel Bryck, Wade Martens and Don Nesbitt have thrown their hats in the ring.
In Division 3, Councillor Penny Archibald and Doug Malsbury are both seeking a spot. Division 4 sees Councillor David Hoar and Bruce Stigings running while Division 5 candidates include Rod English, Richard Lorenz and Councillor Jim Lougheed.
Lastly, Division 6 sees Councillor George Gehrke and Gea Phagoo eyeing a spot.
The municipal election takes place Oct. 18.