There are a number of individuals who are looking for a seat on the Williams Lake city council during the civic elections, one and a half months from now.
Why would someone want to run for council?
Are you interested in making a difference by helping to create a community that is vibrant and welcoming? Do you have a vision that provides a good quality of life for your fellow citizens?
For governments to be representative to the needs of their constituents, their make-up should reflect the demographics of the constituency. As an elected official, you will bring the perspectives of your demographic to the decision-making table, influence changes that benefit this community and ensure its sustainability, put forward new ideas for debate and possible implementation and change. You will be asked by voters to make a positive difference in the quality of life in this community, provide a voice for our community with other levels of government and to be part of a team that makes decisions that affect all aspects of community life.
The questions you should ask yourself if thinking of running: Do I have the skills and knowledge required to be an elected municipal official?
It’s not crucial to have education or experience in a municipal government setting to run as a candidate.
You likely have skills, knowledge and abilities that are transferable to the elected official’s role.
You may want to undertake a self-assessment of your skills prior to running for elected office. Think about your volunteer experience, work experience, community involvement, membership in different organizations around Williams Lake and your family life.
I think municipal, regional district and school board elected officials have a more difficult time with their voters than do politicians in provincial and federal jurisdictions because they spend more time face-to-face with them.
If you are a mayor or council person you meet your electors on a much closer basis because everyone thinks they know you. If you go to the post office, folks will talk to you about the city. If you go shopping in the grocery store, people will stop and ask why you allowed a new road to go through, or why are you’re increasing taxes and how come an administrator was just a one-day wonder. These are questions councillors or mayors go through all the time when they are out and about in our community.
Do you want to be called a jerk for something council has done that you did not like? There will be occasions where this will happen. Can you develop a thick skin?
Can you imagine how much heat is being blasted upon elected officials in Abbotsford. The city is in hock for $12.7 million as sponsor of the American Hockey League Abbotsford Heat. They are no longer in town. Yikes.
Being a local councillor or mayor requires a lot of time and dedication to do the right thing.
It is nice to see people step up to the plate and want to get involved in local government, and this go around we have some interesting folks taking out papers for mayor or councillor.
Good to see Craig Smith throwing his hat into the electoral ring, along with Jason Ryll and Bobbie-Jo Macnair. They join Sue La Chance, Wayne Lucier and Peter Bowman, who is running for his second time. Current councillors wanting another term are Sue Zacharias, Ivan Bonnell and Laurie Walters. Geoff Bourdon, Danica Hughes and Surrinderpal Rathor — who is running for mayor — will not be seeking seats.
I give all of those who are running for mayor and councillor of this fine city a big thank you. It takes a lot of dedication and time to run a good campaign.
Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.