Brenda Knight, Lacombe County’s deputy reeve, is seeing municipal re-election this fall.
Voters head to the polls on Oct. 16th.
Knight originally ran for County council in 2010, so she’s coming up on the end of her second term.
“I’ve always had an interest in municipal work because I worked as an administrator for years,” she said. “The opportunity arose to join the other side of the table.” She also recalls a number of people encouraging her to run at the time, so the timing was right.
“And I like serving people, when you are in the municipal world that’s what you do,” she added. “Anyone who loses sight of that is not very wise.
“Councillors are decision-makers. And being part of decisions that will affect the lives of people 30, 40, 50 or even 100 years out is very fulfilling. It’s also very interesting to listen to the people, hear their views on what ever matters you may be discussing, and to do my best to bring their voices to the table.”
Knight said one of the biggest challenges in a county is to maintain a strong agricultural base while allowing for growth.
“I’m a cow/calf operator myself – and what I always say to people is that there are sights, sounds and smells in the country. And as councillors, we have to always keep sight that that always has to be first,” she added of the commitment to the industry. “Farmers fill all the fridges – whether it’s a town, a subdivision or a hamlet or an acreage,” she said, adding that ultimately that is key and avoiding conflict in light of that fact is essential.
“I think that sometimes when people move to the country they aren’t prepared for the massive changes, or even to the smaller areas,” she said, adding the lifestyle is different than what they may have been accustomed to in a larger centre, for example.
“So to me, that’s key – maintaining that balance.”
Other things she said she’s hearing about are comments over Inter-municipal Collaborative Frameworks. Knight said it will be expected that the County will have a working agreement with all surrounding municipalities touching the County’s borders.
It’s about collaborating with neighbours while maintaining the County’s own services to local residents.
“Municipalities don’t end at a border,” she explained. “We do have to learn to work with all of our municipal counterparts,” she said. “Having said that, we have to ensure we service our residents to the fullest as well. It’s a balancing act – there are a lot of balancing acts,” she added of County council work.
Looking to the next several weeks building up to the election, Knight said she’s looking forward to engaging with constituents all the more. “I’ve always had a very open door policy. If you see me in the grocery store, talk to me and that happens a lot,” she added, chuckling. “I have gone with sat with folks at home – that’s all part of what you do.
“I still believe you knock on doors and you talk to people. I still believe that that face to face is best whenever you can, and whenever somebody isn’t at home I always leave a ‘sorry I missed you’ notice, here’s my information,” she said, adding she also has the hamlets of Mirror and Tees to cover, too.
For Knight, being on County is a fulfilling venture – even on the tough days.
“The other night I was driving home and I just had the sense that we had made some very good decisions. What I like a lot too is working in the County – it’s a stellar place to work – the staff is fantastic. The fellow councillors – everyone brings something to the table. We are very diverse,” she said. “And we all get along which is so important, too.
“There is also no greater sense of why you do something then when someone says thank you.
“When you actually can help someone, it’s a wonderful feeling.”