Two newcomers, Angela Wood and David Letourneau, are vying for the position of mayor alongside familiar faces Cathy Heron and Bob Russell in St. Albert’s Oct. 18 election.
Angela Wood, a current law student and former fraud investigator with experience in the insurance industry, said she set her sights on running for mayor after feeling key questions were going unanswered and even being avoided by current leaders.
“I just thought, ‘We need someone who can step up and show a high level of integrity,'” Wood said. “I realized waiting for somebody else to do that wasn’t necessarily going to happen … so I made the decision to run for mayor.”
Wood said the skills she developed through her work as a fraud investigator and in the insurance industry have prepared her to be a “strong leader.”
“I’m used to working as a group, working toward robust conversations with differing views, and bringing all perspectives to the table to approach things objectively,” Wood said. “I can bring [that] to the table for St. Albert.”
The 44-year-old said, if elected, she has made the decision to put her law degree on hold.
“In spite of loving my legal education and looking forward to my future law career, I feel there’s much value in my skills and what I can bring to St. Albert residents if elected as mayor,” Wood said.
Spending time volunteering with victim services in two different communities has also equipped Wood with the opportunity to develop her leadership skills, she said. Wood said this work included developing policy, assisting with writing organizational bylaws, and strategic and budget planning.
“I know I can take the reins and show the residents of St. Albert transparency and openness. Accountability and integrity are really important,” Wood said. “We need leadership that is accountable to the public.”
David Letourneau, a health-care worker who was born and raised in St. Albert, said he decided to run for mayor after chatting with friends and neighbours over the summer.
“We were bantering back and forth about politics in general, and were doing a bit of complaining,” Letourneau said. “I just thought, 'Why don’t we actually do something about it?'”
Letourneau said, if elected, his primary focus would be making a difference in terms of accountability.
“A lot of the time it seems people are listened to, but it’s more often to check a box to say they were, rather than them being heard with real respect and consideration,” Letourneau said. “That’s one of the big things I would hope to bring to city council.”
Additionally, Letourneau said he would like to assess some financial aspects of the city. Specifically, he argued that St. Albert has been acquiring capital assets that don't produce revenue at a sustainable rate.
"I'd like to ... bring our capital asset acquisition more in line with what the city is able to sustain into the future," Letourneau said.
The 37-year-old highlighted how, in his current role working with emergency departments in the Edmonton zone, he often brings groups together toward a common goal. Some of the areas he said he works on include strategic planning, pandemic planning, policy setting, operational efficiency, and general innovation and improvements with hospital flow at all hospitals in the region.
Letourneau said he has no desire to go “further in politics” beyond St. Albert, arguing local government ultimately affects people the most, “whether they like to admit it or not."
“I just want to make a difference in the community at the local level,” Letourneau said. “It’s important for the future, for my family and other families, that people are listened to.”
Ultimately, Letourneau described himself as an “ordinary guy.”
“I’m just an ordinary guy doing an ordinary thing,” Letourneau said. “I’m trying to serve my community.”