IN THE RACE - Thalia Hibbs, current board chair of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Schools, has announced she is running for a spot on Lacombe City council in this fall’s municipal election. Wendy Buyar/Lacombe Express

Thalia Hibbs to run for Lacombe City council

Hibbs made the announcement Monday morning at the Lacombe Memorial Centre

Thalia Hibbs, board chair of the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Schools, has entered the race for a seat on the Lacombe City council.

Voters go to the polls in October.

“Today with great pleasure, I publicly announce my intent to run as a candidate for Lacombe City council. I do so at the encouragement of family and friends, but also a great many members in the community who have reached out to me and asked me to consider serving our community in this capacity,” she said during a press conference on Monday. “I greatly appreciate their support.”

Hibbs has lived in Lacombe since 2004. Married to her husband of 17 years, together they have three school age children.

“I’ve had the privilege to serve Lacombe and area for seven years as school trustee,” she said. “As a result, I have developed a unique skill set which would allow me to be a very confident and effective councillor immediately given the similarity of school board and City council operation.

“I’ve attended the majority of council meetings over the past few years, and I’ve identified the many ways that we can improve our practice. Lacombe is on the verge of big changes – and it’s important to have a diversity of viewpoints and fresh ideas on how to move forward as a community. I am that strong voice of new possibilities for Lacombe.”

Hibbs said the values of respect and integrity influence everything she does. “I’m prepared to ask hard but fair questions, to do my research, to solicit input, listen carefully and deliberate thoughtfully,” she said.

“I believe in open-minded and honest dialogue to ensure the best decisions are made for our community,” she added. “And I’m equally comfortable in advocating for a resident as I am lobbying the provincial government. Due to my collaborative nature, I don’t aim to work for the people of Lacombe, but with them.

“Lacombe is a wonderful community, full of people who work really hard everyday to make it better,” she said. “I’m offering my passion for good governance to the residents of Lacombe.”

Hibbs pointed to four campaign pillars including dollars and common sense. “Managing public (funds) is a great responsibility that I have significant experience with, particularly as former chair of the finance committee of a school division whose operating budget is larger than that of the City of Lacombe. Through questions, and robust public debate, expenditures should be analyzed for the benefit of the community and the effect on taxpayers.

“Lacombe ratepayers deserve careful stewardship of the public purse. Leading the region with significant tax increases and a mounting debt load are causes for concern,” she said. Another campaign pillar concerns empowering residents, she said.

“Making the best decisions for Lacombe means gathering valuable input from an engaged population. It’s imperative that the business of City council be accessible and relevant so that residents feel they can contribute in a meaningful way and feel listened to. This requires a more modern and dynamic approach to consultation and information sharing.

“I will be proposing a multi-layer approach to empowering the public to participate in decision-making. This will also ensure true transparency and accountability,” she said. “I look forward to sharing my ideas throughout the campaign.

Hibbs said community standards is another campaign pillar, which involves ensuring an even, balanced approach to governance; and economic development which is at, “The forefront for many residents,” she said.

“These early days of my campaign will be a listening phase – I certainly have a great many ideas, but I want to hear from my fellow Lacombe residents over the next few months.”

According to a release, Hibbs has always enjoyed giving back to the community by volunteering, often through sports as an association executive member or a team manager. Additionally, she has nearly a decade of coaching experience. She is also the current chair of the Lacombe Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.

First acclaimed to the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Schools Board of Trustees in 2010 representing the ward of Lacombe, she was later selected as vice chair and now currently serves as board chair.

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