Watkins runs for city council

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Ray Watkins, 60, has announced he is seeking one of six seats on city council.

Watkins lives in Kingswood and says he decided to throw his hat in the ring as a way to give back to the city he’s lived in for the past 17 years.

“I think that running for office is a way of giving back to your community, and I believe I have a lot to offer to the community,” he said.

A father of three, Watkins has 35 years of experience working with and for municipalities. He says that gives him an advantage as he can “hit the ground running” if elected as a councillor.

“I understand how a municipality works,” he said.

Watkins’ top priority for city council is to build a cohesive, effective council team. If council is on the same side, he says, it’s easier to make decisions in the best interests of the city.

“That means seven people working together for the good of the City of St. Albert,” he said.

“(We need to) concentrate on the things we can get done as opposed to bickering about things we disagree about.”

Once that team is built, it would be easier to tackle the other priorities Watkins has, which range from attracting more jobs to the city and retaining municipal employees to finding a solution for Ray Gibbon Drive and working with the RCMP to tackle property and drug-related crimes.

He wants to see council create two committees of council for seniors and millennials in order to get input from those two groups on the issues facing them.

He also wants to see council examine city bylaws in order to increase the ability of affordable housing projects to develop in St. Albert.

Watkins is one of 25 candidates running for six city council seats. Other candidates include Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon, Al Bohachyk, Wes Brodhead, Jan Butler, Craig Cameron, Gilbert Cantin, Mark Cassidy, Jacy Eberlein, Jacquie Hansen, Sheena Hughes, Charlene Jelinski, Natalie Joly, Shayne Kawalilak, Mark Kay, Ken MacKay, Ufuoma Odebala-Fregene, Nestor Petriw, Hannes Rudolph, Bob Russell, Steve Stone, Tash Taylor, Jaye Walter, Leonard Wilkins and Barry Zukewich.

Cathy Heron, Cam MacKay and Malcolm Parker are running for mayor.

The election will be held Oct. 16.

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