Len Bracko won't seek re-election
Longtime councillor, former MLA won't seek councillor seat
| Posted: Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 12:15 pm
Incumbent Coun. Len Bracko announced Thursday morning he would not be seeking re-election Oct. 21.
“There are many things I would love to still work on and do,” Bracko said. “I still want to be involved.”
Bracko is the second incumbent councillor to announce they’re not seeking reelection, with Coun. Roger Lemieux announcing he wouldn’t run earlier this summer. The rest of the incumbents have all declared their intentions to keep their seats.
Bracko, 69, served as an alderman for St. Albert from 1989-1992, as an MLA from 1993-1997, and returned to municipal politics as a councillor from 2001, holding onto his seat ever since. He unsuccessfully ran for a senate nomination in 2012. During his time as councillor he also served as a director for both Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Prior to his retirement in 2001, Bracko was a teacher. He said it was his students back in the mid-1980s who initially challenged him to get involved with politics, and while he’s stepping back from the municipal side of things he still hopes to be involved in various levels of government.
“I’ll be involved federally probably in politics yet,” he said. He said he’s interested in provincial and federal politics, as well as some St. Albert areas of interest.
On a federal scale, he’s interested in pushing for a nation-wide infrastructure program, transit policy and expanding a western Canadian partnership.
He appreciates all the support he’s received from the people of St. Albert over the years. “It was unbelievable,” he said.
Some council accomplishments he’s participated in over the years include the life cycle maintenance for city infrastructure, Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park, and bringing down city debt. He called St. Albert a leader in environmental sustainability.
“I look back and it just blows me away to see what I’ve been involved with,” Bracko said.
When it comes to the issue many identify with Bracko - light rail transit - the outgoing councillor said he’s not quite satisfied with where he’s leaving the issue, but is hopeful someone else on council might spearhead it in his place. “That’s one of the biggest decisions I had to make ‘cause you need someone driving it,” he said.
He noted congestion and road construction cost citizens both time and money.
“With smart growth and sensors we can make the changes needed to improve the flow of traffic,” Bracko said.
Completing the functional alignment study will get residents the facts, and then they can decide what to do, he said.
The next five years will see a minimal tax increases and great potential for St. Albert, he predicted.
“I’m not running at a time when St. Albert I think, in the next five years, it’s going to be unbelievable,” Bracko said.
For incoming councillors, he offered the advice that they should be regional and big-picture thinkers.
“It’s the big picture things that are going to save us money. There may be some savings at city hall but it is not where you’re going to get the big savings,” he said.
“Don’t try and be politically expedient. Make the right decisions,” he added, noting he’s glad to work with anyone who is interested in running for council.
He has no specific plans for what he’ll do once he’s finished his council term this fall.
“I will take one day at a time, at first,” Bracko said.