The Race Is On


I've known that running for Council was in the cards since May: posters and pamphlets had been designed, campaign material written, and many conversations had. But it didn't feel completely real until I pressed SEND with my formal media announcement yesterday. I wrote the message, read it over-once, twice, three times-then closed my eyes, sucked in my breath and sent it out.

Jill Charlebois from Country 93.3 and Rock 97.9 news was on the phone within two minutes.

"My goodness that was fast," I said.

"I've been waiting for that email for a long time," she said.

She launched into a series of questions and I did my best to sound somewhat knowledgeable and articulate. What goes through your mind after?

How many times did I say ahhh?

Did that come out right?

Can I have a do over?

I hopped in the car to go down to MIX 103.7 to join Claude Giroux for McMurray Matters with Amanda Purcell. It was time to reflect on the 20th anniversary of interPLAY-an interview post-festival that has become a tradition since MIX came on the air.

Nic Lindsay from KROCK pulled me into the studio for an election interview just before the show, followed by Nolan Haukness from MIX after the LIVE show was over. And just like that, with the arrival of the next round of newscasts, my candidacy was out in the world.

I did all those interviews without notes, and I'm pretty sure my key messages remained intact.

Why did you decide to run now?

After 15 years of being a community leader, interPLAY and Events Wood Buffalo have successfully transitioned to being driven by a capable and sustainable staff. This has freed me up to begin the next leg of my community leadership journey.

If you were successful, what would you bring to Council?

I have a proven track record of building collaborative, creative and productive relationships. I'm able to inspire a shared vision and make things happen. Over the years, I've been able to develop these skills on a variety of boards and committees, locally and provincially.

What do you think are key issues facing Council in the coming term?

We still struggle with perceptions-how the world sees Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray and oil sands. While we've made good progress in providing some balance in this regard, we need to continue telling our Big Spirit stories in a compelling and consistent way.

We also have to keep our eyes on the infrastructure ball. Tremendous progress has been made in recent years to play catch up. We can't allow ourselves to get behind again. In fact, we need to go beyond core infrastructure projects into quality of life and community development initiatives that will enhance our region's sustainability and desirability as a place to call home.

Nolan asked me what I thought about the current Council. I answered in the best way I know how.

"I think there's been a lot of lost time with the current Council: meetings that went on way too long owing to the dynamics of the group. This Council has become rather split. I'd like to come to the table and be a part of a NEW group that can work better together."

I looked back on the material I wrote several months ago, in language that tells it like it is. Now that I'm out of the gate, there is an inclination to go back and soften some of the language, but I'm going to resist the temptation. There is no use in white-washing the words at a time when we need to be completely transparent about the issues.

The race is on.

August 10, 2010 - 197.8 lbs., 27.9% body fat

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