By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
As the upcoming by-election looms, candidate Mike Davies said he is excited to see there is a renewed interest in municipal politics lately.
Born and raised in Picture Butte, with over 30 years as a local business owner in town Davies said he decided to put his name forward for a few reasons:
“Talking with people, (there has been) a lot of concerns and nobody really stepping forward to really do anything,” and added, “but I’m a true believer that when it comes to politics that people should be able to complain without having to run.”
“Once you’re in politics, I mean, it’s a paid position,” and said, “I don’t believe in that, right, I believe that a politician should take all the heat and be able to be scrutinized.”
Davies added, although this is his first time pursuing an elected seat in municipal politics, the timing seems right.
“I am at a time in my life where you know, my kids are older and things are settled and you have a little more time to become more involved.”
“I think accountability and transparency within the administration and council is a big issue with everybody in this town.”
“Decisions are made and then questions are asked and then the wishy-washing of answers and round-about type accounting; that’s been a big issue for a lot of people that I have dealt with.”
In 2013, Wendy Jones was acclaimed in the mayoral seat. Then in 2017, Cathy Moore, who serves as the current mayor of Picture Butte stepped into the role by acclamation, alongside three incumbent councillors. In 2021, all elected officials were acclaimed, not elected in their seats on council.
“You know, for the last eight years, everyone (who) just kind of walks into council becomes a council member in there. The whole council was in by acclamation,” and added, “when I decided to run, I mean the big issue here is everyone’s been acclamated, then I run, and then Crystal (Neels) runs and I have a sense of people are excited about the election because there hasn’t been an election for a long time.”
Davies said since announcing his nomination, he has been receiving calls, and getting lots of feedback from residents around town.
And said of the feedback and ongoing uptick in engagement with municipal politics, he, “didn’t really think that was going to happen.”
He added, it is good to see a renewed engagement in the political process: “I hope that the next election that there’s 12 candidates running.”
Davies’ campaign brochure lists affordable housing, a focus on local employment, local trade support, industrial growth, and bylaw (enforcement) efficiency as top commitments. If elected, Davies’s main goals and objectives include pushing for greater accountability and transparency by council, securing a permanent solutions to cellphone coverage gaps in the Town and County, look into the concerns regarding the sewage lagoon and upgrades, explore the feasibility of a cemetery in town, and ensure contracts adhere to provincial guidelines with respect to procurement regulations.
The official by-election vote will be held at the Picture Butte town office on Nov. 7.