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Bracko makes another council run

Incumbent Coun. Len Bracko will run for a fifth term. "I'm a person that gets energized with big challenges," he said. "I've been part of a lot of big challenges and I think some more things need to be done in St. Albert.

Incumbent Coun. Len Bracko will run for a fifth term.

"I'm a person that gets energized with big challenges," he said. "I've been part of a lot of big challenges and I think some more things need to be done in St. Albert."

The retired teacher and former MLA said he decided to run again because of the challenges the city faces like bringing LRT to St. Albert. He said his goal is to see the LRT line to the city completed by 2016.

He also wants to help put in place a long-term municipal sustainability plan, ensuring all new infrastructure has a plan for repair and replacement built into initial costs. He wants the city to wipe its debt clean, which he said should happen in the next few years, with the provision of allowing new debt for a future LRT line.

"With the [Municipal Sustainability Initiative] funding and the federal gas tax and other grants, I don't see us going into debt unless it's over the LRT," he said. "To me, the gold medal is bringing the LRT to St. Albert."

Bracko said a key part of helping St. Albert achieve its goals is creating partnerships with and lobbying both the provincial and federal governments. During his time as an MLA in the 1990s and his place on the board of directors for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Bracko said he's formed many connections that helped the city when it came to finding funding.

"I don't think anyone is as well connected in the province as me," he said. "I've gained knowledge and experience in everything I've done."

For Bracko, accomplishments during his most recent council term include the city's soon-to-be-revealed downtown plan, currently in draft form, and the increase in affordable housing during his term, such as the expansion of North Ridge Lodge.

The issues facing St. Albert's aging population is a soft spot for Bracko. He wants to see more affordable living options for older residents, ranging from housing to transport to taxes.

"I look at many people who are on pensions … and it's hard to live on a limited income," he said. "The issue is even being recognized at the senate level."

In addition to his personal website, Bracko said he will knock on doors and attend public events to get his message out to the public. For him, the feedback that will come is the most important part of his election work over the next few months.

"As my Dad said when I was 11 years old, you can learn from everybody," said Bracko. "I really appreciate the feedback from people, wherever I go."

Cathy Heron seeks seat

Cathy Heron became the first female candidate to seek a seat on council when she announced her candidacy at a Rotary Club of St. Albert meeting Friday morning. Heron is the chair of the community services advisory board and worked on Mayor Nolan Crouse's 2007 election campaign.

Heron said she would discuss her candidacy in greater detail next week.

Bracko timeline

o First ran for MLA in 1989, came in second
o Ran later that year for council, served until 1992
o Ran for MLA again in 1992 and won, served until 1997 when he lost by 16 votes
o Returned to city council in 2001, has served three more terms to date
o Board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
o Former teacher with Greater St. Albert School Division, retired in 2001