By Alderman Wayne Rothe
As a long-time political nerd I’ve never seen the calibre of new candidates as those who are running in the October municipal election in Spruce Grove. Some talented people have put their names forward.
Although the final list of candidates won’t be known until nomination day, Sept. 18, I’m aware of four women whose names will be on the ballot. They deserve your consideration.
I’ve been fortunate to serve on council with some excellent female colleagues. As a man who hopes to be re-elected I’m going to say that I’m delighted to see more women with an interest in civic politics. It’s good for the city when smart women step up in this way. I hope that more will consider it for this election; it’s not too late.
Why don’t more women run? There may be many reasons. Men may be more politically minded. Family situations are usually more accepting for men than for women, especially families with young children. Unfortunately, there may be a societal gender bias.
Whatever the reasons, we need more women in political office. Neighbouring Parkland county has four women councillors on a council of seven. Stony Plain has two women on council and had a female mayor for many years.
I’m not saying that women should be elected just because they’re women. We need to elect the best people for the important job of determining the future of our community. That’s more important than gender.
However, we need to be more representative of our entire community – age, demographics, skill sets, gender, and political persuasions. I believe that we should have more young people on city council – and more women. So please find out what all of your candidates have to say. Ask their position on issues that are important to you. Consider the female candidates and vote strategically for equal representation.
Oh, there is one more thing. I’ve talked to others in the community over the last couple of weeks and have given this title thing (alderman vs. councillor) a lot of consideration. I’ve changed my position and when it comes up with the new council (as it will) I’ll support a change to councillor. If some in our community object to a title they see as gender-biased then it’s time.
The new council will discuss this and I think that discussion will be different than it was a few years ago. That’s partly because there will be more women on council, right? Right?!
Signing off, Alderman (for now) Wayne Rothe