By Samantha Johnson
The Town Council in Redcliff will see two new faces this term.
Matthew St. Pierre took enough votes to put him in a solid fourth seat on council.
“I’m really excited about it. Looking forward to being able to have a say and have a voice for the rest of the citizens of Redcliff over the next four years. I was unsure going into it with my age (35) and stuff like that.”
St. Pierre, given 100% support by his wife, Jessica, of three years said, “right now it’s going to be a big learning curve, especially in the first few months, just learning the ropes and how things are done. I don’t expect things to happen right away. We all know governments, it takes time. I don’t expect to be doing any huge changes right away but if the opportunity comes up in the next month or so for me to make some suggestions, I’ll certainly throw them out on the table.”
With this being his first experience with municipal politics, St. Pierre has been grateful for the support from the incumbents. “I was offered assistance if I had any questions during my campaign.” After the unofficial results came in, St. Pierre was sent messages of congratulations with incumbents “saying they were looking forward to working with me. The feeling is mutual.”
James Allen squeaked into the sixth councillor seat by a narrow margin of nine votes. At the time of speaking to him, the result was not official, “it would feel much better if I knew it was official, but I guess I’ll wait to see what Friday brings. I didn’t win the last seat by too many votes, so once they announce it Friday at noon, it will feel pretty good.”
Allen works as an estimator at a heating and cooling company in Redcliff, which is his fulltime employment. The Councillor position will be something on top of that. “My reason for running was strictly because this was another way to give back to the community. I’ve volunteered for different things over the 16 years, we’ve been living in Redcliff, and I care about the community. I have four kids and I care about their future, so this is a way I can hopefully contribute in a positive way. I don’t see it as a job per se but as a way I can give back,” commented Allen.
Allen talked to two people before he ran for council so they could voice their concerns. The first was his wife, Sherry, who said she would support him 100%. He also talked to his boss as the Councillor position could potentially impact his work schedule and his boss wished him luck.
Allen’s focus for the first while is “to learn the ropes. This is something new to me. I have learned lots over the last month through the campaigning process with many of the questions that were asked from different citizens in town. I met with a couple of my kid’s classes at school and those teenagers had me on my heels. It will be learning the ropes and getting up to speed on the current issues the town is dealing with, and what the current projects are. Where are we at? Where to we go from here?”
Prior to the election Allen knew the current mayor, Mr. Dwight Kilpatrick. “He and I work together on occasion in the industry. I like to think we have a good rapport. I do not personally know any of the other councillors, the incumbents or the other new councillor, but I look forward to working together with them over the next four years.”
Cathy Crozier is heading into her fourth term as a Councillor and had the second highest number of votes. Crozier, “is happy, thrilled, and humbled that people came out to vote and put a vote of confidence in me. We’ve done lots of good things and I’m looking forward to doing lots more.”
Speaking on the steep learning curve the two new Councillors will endure, Crozier said, “we are starting on Saturday (October 23) with a Council orientation. They (new councillors) will be given the policy books. Administration will provide a summary of our by-laws and where we are at with different projects, as well as what we hope to do going forward. Our strategic planning will be reviewed. It’s going to be quite a learning experience, especially if they don’t have any experience in municipal politics. This is October, we will be going into budget sessions here fairly quickly. It will be a steep learning curve, but we have an excellent administration that I know will be willing and able to answer any questions they might have. They are also encouraged to call any current councillor, those with some experience. We are all on the same team and we are all here to work together for Redcliff.”
With this new election, Crozier will be the only woman on the Redcliff Town Council. “I’m a little disappointed more women didn’t run for council in Redcliff. It’s intimidating to run for council, it’s a challenge as a woman. I’m very happy to see that more women are running for municipal politics. The mayor of Calgary and the mayor of Medicine Hat both being women is wonderful and I do hope that going forward women and girls will see that we can be successful in politics, and this will encourage them to put their name in the hat.”
Incumbents Chris Czember (956 votes), Jim Steinke ( 738 ) and Larry Leipert (706) will be the other councillors for the next four years.