Choosing wisely

Well another municipal election campaign is about to wrap up and the only thing left to do is for Red Deer residents to head to the polls on Oct. 21.

With a record number of candidates running for City council (30), it may seem like a daunting task to narrow it down to a select few to vote for. Not so much of a challenge with a far more reasonable number vying for the mayor’s chair (five).

Plus there are school board members to elect as well.

As we all know, it’s a privilege to even be able to choose who occupies these positions in our City, and that’s a notion that really cannot be underemphasized. People may mistakenly believe that being on City council, for example, is a relatively easy gig – essentially an ‘every other week’ meeting running through a list of mundane City issues.

Of course, it’s far more in-depth than that. Councillors must prepare for these meetings which can be extremely lengthy, and often there are extensive documents to carefully go over in detail just to get a handle on the issues they will be discussing.

Their work also isn’t limited to just the meetings. There are plenty of committees that need a City representative to serve on as well, plus several other tasks, events and so forth that must be taken care of. It has really become a full-time position in terms of the number of weekly hours to just keep up.

Clearly, being mayor of a city holds its challenges and demands as well. There are countless events that require a mayor’s attendance besides the administrative work, the meetings and the constant demands of the public on any given issue or topic.

School board members also deal with everything ranging from capital projects, tightening budgets and keeping up with the latest in educational trends – with only so much money allocated.

As to this year’s election, the hope is that with such an extensive slate of candidates and a tight mayor’s race, voter turnout will be higher than usual. Municipal election turn-outs are typically dismal, coming in around the 20% mark.

But this year, with a number of issues at hand and lots of social media buzz fuelling the campaign’s momentum, voter turnout should be higher than normal.

With that said, voters need to take the time to get to know what each candidate stands for. A read-through of this week’s feature in the Express about each candidate will brief voters as to the candidates’ basic platforms.

We encourage everyone who is able to take the time to vote – it’s an important election, particularly as the terms have been lengthened to four years from three.

Wisely choosing our representative is therefore that much more important.

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