By Justin Seward
RMA’s (Rural Municipalities of Alberta) municipal leaders voted in Paul McLauchlin as their new president last week at the Fall Convention on Nov. 3-4.
RMA is an organization that since 1909 has advocated for 69 counties across the province in order to achieve strong, effective local government.
“I think it creates a tremendous amount of humility,” said McLauchlin.
“I deal with politicians all the time at different levels of government and I have an incredible respect for our local politicians. I find them the salt of the earth. They’re the pulse of their communities and so to have their support is a really big deal to me. There’s nothing I like more than dealing with rural municipal leaders. To represent those folks is a pretty humbling experience.”
He is in his fourth term as the reeve of Ponoka County and that is where he farms with his wife Melinda.
It was previous to his RMA involvement, that he owned his own environmental consulting company for the last 19 years and has been a professional biologist for 25 years.
“My biggest goal is educating all level of government and sharing our story. I think the narrative around who we are as a governing entity, what it’s like as a municipal leader and some of the challenges facing us,” he said.
“I think that’s the biggest message we have going forward, ensuring that experience, and sharing those stories with all levels of government.”
McLaughlin understands the downturn in oil and gas and the bumper year agriculture had.
“But at the same time we all have challenges facing agriculture and oil and gas still hasn’t drawn out of the back end of this,” he said.
“I think we have to work together and share our stories and make sure we all do this together.”
McLauchlin added, “I keep telling everybody this is a refresh, not a reset. We’re continuing all the good work we’re doing and keep doing what we’re doing moving forward.”
Prior to becoming president, McLauchlin was half through his second term as a district manager for Central Alberta.
McLauchlin replaces Al Kemmere as president.