Fresh off the first challenger throwing a hat in the ring for this fall’s civic election, several members of city council used the holiday season to ponder their own political futures.
Mayor Nolan Crouse previously announced his intention to seek another term in the mayor’s chair, while other council members are still deciding whether they want to give it a go for another three-year term.
So far, only councillors Roger Lemieux and Gareth Jones are willing to give a definitive “yes” about their intentions to run again.
After serving his first term on council, Lemieux said it’s taken about a year and a half to fully understand all the issues involved with running a municipality. Now that he has all the necessary knowledge, he feels he has a firm grasp to make the tough decisions in the best interests of the citizens of St. Albert.
“I ran on a platform that I thought I could make a difference and I found out I really can,” said Lemieux, who’s been among the most vocal when it comes to curbing spending during last few months of budget deliberations. “If I do get re-elected, I’ll keep a very keen eye and be very interested in how the money flows in and out.”
The past three years have also marked the first time serving on a city council for Jones, who feels there is much unfinished business to be done before he exits politics.
Meanwhile, Coun. Len Bracko remains on the undecided list. But even after serving nine years on city council, the veteran councillor said he is likely leaning towards serving another term.
“My wife says politics is like having hepatitis — it never goes away,” said Bracko, who’s focused on the future needs of the city. “We have to make some long-term plans to deal with the aging population and plan for the future, not only for St. Albert, but for the province and Canada. I guess I want to be a part of that.”
Coun. Lorie Garritty has spent two terms on council and also remains undecided at this time. He said he would likely have an answer by the end of the month.
Coun. James Burrows isn’t in any hurry to give his decision, which likely won’t be made until the end of summer, he said.
“When I go out door knocking, I’ll have a feel whether the people of St. Albert think I’m doing a good job,” said Burrows, who has served on council for three terms, and wouldn’t mind exploring other opportunities, possibly in provincial politics.
“I definitely enjoy politics so far. One thing about being on council is I really believe we are a cohesive group of seven.”
Coun. Carol Watamaniuk also remains undecided at this time. She has served three terms on council and said she should have her mind made up by May.
Last month, technology consultant James Van Damme became the first non-incumbent to officially throw a hat in the ring for the civic election.
Voters will head to the polls on Oct. 18.