Local business owner enters council race

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The race for city council is heating up with another new face entering the ring.

Ufuoma Odebala-Fregene, a St. Albert business owner and mother of four, has announced her intentions to run for city council.

Odebala-Fregene immigrated from the United Kingdom 10 years ago and fell in love with St. Albert because of its small town feel.

“We’ve had neighbours spontaneously help us out and we’ve spontaneously helped others out as well so we enjoy that bedroom feel of the community,” Odebala-Fregene said.

Odebala-Fregene owns two home based businesses in the community with her husband. One, Reez Immigration, is dedicated to helping newcomers immigrate to Canada. The second, Reez Community Foundation, is a not-for-profit community foundation dedicated to providing assistance and social advocacy to community members.

The 49-year-old has a passion for social justice and policy. She worked for seven-and-a-half years as a human rights adviser dealing with issues of health and criminal justice.

Odebala-Fregene said that as a councillor she would bring better communication with community members.

“I think I have value to contribute because I think that is a piece that is not going to be delivered,” Odebala-Fregene said.

The Grandin resident is concerned how raising taxes to pay for infrastructure projects, such as the library will impact the social outcomes in society. She is also concerned with how a raise in taxes coupled with the economic downturn will impact depression, suicide attempts and domestic violence in the city.

“When we are making decisions we should be more introspective and think about people’s needs,” Odebala-Fregene said.

The business owner also wants to see more fiscal responsibility and more accountability with the way the city plans projects and approves funding.

Odebala-Fregene will be running against Natalie Joly, Craig Cameron, Jacy Eberlein, Hannes Rudolph, Al Bohachyk, Jaye Walter, Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon, Wes Brodhead and Bob Russell.

Current councillors Cathy Heron and Cam MacKay have launched campaigns to run for mayor.

Nomination day is Sept. 18 and the election will be held on Oct. 16.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.