If you could use one word to describe 2017, what would you use and why?
I would say exciting. When the calendar turned over from 2016 to 2017 I was just another resident of the town of Drayton Valley, wondering how I could increase my stake and kind of help the town. The by-election came around and I ran for council, then in the October election I ran for mayor, it's all very exciting. I also had my third child during the campaign so there were a lot of positives for me in 2017 and all very exciting stuff.
What were some of the issues that came up this year that weighed heaviest on you?
Probably just around budgeting, that's kind of where one of my focuses is just where the budgets were. We just need to make sure that we're being prudent to the town and making sure we are saving money for the future so we aren't just looking at the here and now and that's a very difficult thing to bring to people but we need to start saving for the future.
What were some of the best moments of 2017, and what were some of the hardest to deal with?
The best moment personally was the birth of my third son, that would probably have to be number one on the list. Probably the hardest moment was during the campaign with the homelessness issue being brought to light. How it was handled was one thing, knowing this is an issue in the town and not having an answer for it and I still don't have an answer for it. I'm the type of person that if you have a problem, solve it and it's hard on me when I can't solve the problem.
How did the past year in public office shape you, what did it teach you?
What didn't it teach me! It told me that there's always more to a story then a lot of people want to realize, there is always two sides. It taught me to be more engaged in the public and to not trust everything for face value. Look a bit further, and you as a reporter you probably know that just as well as anyone else that there is always two sides. This year had personal growth for me as well, I'm still 32 but it's made me more mature and from a personal side I'm getting a little bit better at the public speaking aspect.
What do you look forward to in 2018 in accomplishing in Drayton Valley?
We'll be rolling out our interim budget, it'll be a few different things but I think we just need to start saving a little bit more money and that's not going to come without challenges. Some people probably aren't going to be happy with that but I'm just looking at the new energy that we have on council, interacting with the town and just kind of turning the corner and getting a positive feel about the town. I'm just looking forward to a more positive 2018.
Is there any particular issue you will be keeping your eye on in 2018, any upcoming policies or initiatives the town is looking at?
The pot legalization is going to be a big one, we are still kind of waiting to see what the Alberta government is going to do before we roll things out. We've had our first meeting on December 5 with Brazeau County council, and there were a lot of positives coming out of that so I'm looking forward to continuing that in 2018. I think when it comes to infrastructure that is going to be a big factor but we need to come up with a more general plan with everything. To make sure we have the funds to pay for it so we're not just kind of doing one offs, we need to get a full strategy together.
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