An 11-year veteran of Foothills County council is seeking a fourth term.
Suzanne Oel is running to represent Div. 4 for another term in the upcoming municipal election.
She said the past three terms, including two years as reeve, have been enjoyable and there is still a lot of work to be done.
“It would be an honour to continue in partnership with residents, bringing my passion and dedication to the many projects underway and the new ones that will emerge,” said Oel.
Of utmost importance is standing strong for fairness in decision-making on both municipal matters and with inter-governmental issues such as the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, she said.
The rural voices have been dismissed too often, she said.
“I aim to persistently stand up for the rights and freedoms of our residents, even in David and Goliath situations, such as getting the best deal with the mandated Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, where the minority rural municipalities are subject to the Calgary veto vote and have been relegated to the position of second-class citizens in the recent regional growth plan,” said Oel.
Other priorities include advocating for more effective rural 911 dispatch and the co-ordination of emergency response, a torch she has carried throughout her tenure on council.
Rural crime remains a concern, she said, adding she wants to continue to keep up the united front to address the issue, working with council and protective services to keep an eye on the new Foothills County rural policing strategy.
It would also involve advocating for changes to how offenders are prosecuted, she said.
“We need to end the revolving door of criminals through the justice system,” said Oel.
There are a number of projects in the works for Foothills County she would like to see through, such as bringing more industry to the Highway 2A corridor to diversify the tax base and create more local jobs.
Construction of roads and infrastructure projects such as sub-regional water and wastewater development are on the horizon, as well as finding ways to improve rural Internet access, she said.
She said her passion, experience on council and in business and volunteerism allow her to work with residents to create a community and develop a great place to live.
Her vision for the County is that it is a place to enjoy the benefits of country living where residents can create their dreams with the support of the municipality.
“While building relationships and projects that fit with our future goals, the County will responsibly maintain our operations and open the door to opportunity in a way that respects our finances, resources and neighbours,” said Oel. “We will stand strong for the rights and freedoms of our rural municipality and residents, making our community a great place to live.”