Ponoka County Council candidates for Divisions 2 and 3

Svenningsen, Beebe acclaimed for Ponoka County seats

The Ponoka News continues extensive civic election coverage today with profiles of those candidates running for county council

  • Thu Oct 7th, 2010 6:00am
  • News

Division 1: (acclaimed)

Name: Gordon Svenningsen is out of the country and unavailable to respond.

Division 2: (election pending)

Gawney Hinkley

Age: “Long in the tooth.”

Occupation: Retired dairy farmer

Marital status: Widower

Community involvement: Board member F.C.S.S., past board member Rimoka Foundation, chairman of Community Advisory Committee Hobbema Healing Centre, many other committees and organizations. “I coached and played hockey for more than 25 years in Ponoka and have farmed all my life. We were very proud to receive the “Northlands Farm Family Award” in 1992.”

Why are you running for county office? “I have served on county council for the past 21 years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I am committed to ensuring the county continue to be open and honest. I was born in Ponoka and have very strong feelings for this community.”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents? “I congratulate my opponents for stepping forward in this election. It is what democracy is all about. I know it isn’t easy to let your name stand for public office in a time when governments at all levels are under constant pressure. I hope my experience and track record speaks for itself. The county operation is open and honest and I am proud to be part of it.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “I think we have to continue to try and make the county an attractive place for agriculture and industry to grow and thrive. The best way to do this is to maintain our existing low tax rates, continue to improve our infrastructure and make it a good place for people to live.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “I am very proud of the hot mix paving and chip seal programs we have been able to provide in division 2 in recent years. We need to continue this trend. As well, the county has committed support for upgrading recreation facilities and the Ponoka Ag Event Centre. This has been possible with grant support from the provincial government. County council is in the process of providing high speed internet towers so all county residents will have access and we are implementing a municipal addressing system utilizing GPS to improve response times by emergency services. The bottom line is we will continue to provide the best possible service we can with the funds available.”

Rick Angeltvedt

Age: 54

Occupation: I currently run a cow/calf operation full time since 2001, prior to that it was part time on a smaller scale while owner/operator of Fountain Tire in Ponoka from 1986 to 2001.

Marital status, family: I am married with three children, all have graduated with university degrees and are working in their chosen professions. My wife, Lesley, is head of the radiology department in the Wetaskiwin hospital.

Community involvement: “I was a member of the Kinsmen Club in several communities, as well as Ponoka. I helped coach minor hockey for several years, was assistant leader with 4-H Light Horse, helped at high school rodeos and the Rodeo Challenge. I am currently a director on the Ponoka Ag Society.”

Why are you running for county office? “I enjoyed dealing with people over the years I spent in business and I understand many of the issues of dealing with problems and solutions as well as budgeting and forecasting future needs.”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents? “I feel that I would add a new perspective since I have experienced both urban and rural elements of business and lifestyle. I once was the person working in town and wanting to live in the solitude of the country, which we did for several years before making the move to full-time ranching. Since then I have experienced the same hardships as the rest of the agriculture community has over the last few years. I believe this experience will help me make informed, viable unbiased decisions on matters that will affect the county and also our community as a whole. I am easily approachable and will do my best to be your voice on county council.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “Taxes always are and always will be a concern but I believe they are reasonable and I will do my best to keep them that way or improve on them. The roads we all drive on are one of the biggest expenses and making sure we make the best use the resources and technology to maintain, upgrade and expand them is vital. Land use requests in their many different forms is likely the biggest issue facing rural areas today. There are requirements and assessments that need to be done in each case and the county has a municipal development plan that addresses these. Balancing the major resources of agriculture while encouraging economic growth within the county and the demands of subdivisions to coexist to the benefit of all the ratepayers will be a major focus.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “I would strive to maintain low taxes without sacrificing our needs of roads and infrastructure in the county. Protecting our natural resources of land, air and water quality so we can prosper and enjoy the things that make the county a great place to run our operations. I would also work to strengthen the relationship between the county and towns who we rely on for much of services and activities. We are stronger working together.”

Curtis Emes

Age: 47

Occupation: Corporate management rep. with Core-Mark International Inc.

Marital status, family: Married, three children.

Community involvement: Past minor hockey and minor ball board member and coach, past soccer association coach.

Why are you running for county office? “I want to bring a fresh new attitude to council. I believe the county ratepayers in our area should have a viable choice. This is a diverse area with many acreage owners as well as farmers and ranchers. They should all have a voice.”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents? “I will be open, honest, and will listen to the voters and act with integrity. I believe it’s time for a change and I offer a new and positive perspective.

What are the most important issues facing the county? “To work with the town as one entity and ensure our infrastructure is prepared for the future.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “By working with the town to enhance recreation and educational facilities. Keeping it a crime-free area, and stressing that our county is also a respected farming community.”

Division 3: (election pending)

George Verheire

Age: 65

Occupation: Farmer

Marital status, family: Married to Brenda, five married children and grandkids.

Community involvement: I have been involved on several committees since being elected, e.g. vice-chairman of Rimoka Board, member of municipal planning commission, seed cleaning plant board, and vice-chairman of Rural Crime Watch. Prior to this I served nine years on the David Thompson Health Authority, chaired several ambulance boards provincially and chaired the Ponoka school board.

Why are you running for county office? “I am a councillor who thrives on challenges and enjoys working with and for my ratepayers. I am passionate about politics municipally, provincially and federally. Many people would call me a political junkie. I have worked in provincial politics province wide and enjoyed it for nine years. Being semi-retired from farming gives me the time to be the best councillor possible. I have the knowledge and expertise for the job!”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents: “I have knowledge and skills which are valuable as a county councillor e.g. road building experience. I am computer literate and the council now works on laptop computers both at meetings and at home. I have strong communications skills and have been an experienced negotiator, I continue to bring new ideas to council such as revising our municipal development plan, introduced the new county newsletter which was sent to ratepayers recently, water testing for quantity east and west of Gull Lake, outright purchase of one more grader to shorten turnaround time.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “Keeping taxes low, spending within our budget – no deficit spending, keeping balance between subdivisions and saving good agriculture land and continuing to improve the quality of life in the County. We are successfully operating our county with an administration staff which is continually looked upon by other municipalities as being the most efficient and effective with the smallest number of staff compared to other counties. We need to be continually looking at our gravel supplies and pursuing new sources of gravel for future use. The increase of people, traffic and equipment puts more pressure on our roads. This continues to be a major challenge.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “I believe that we have a great County, lowest taxes, safe environment and good county roads that we continue to work at improving. We have a good mix between agriculture land and subdivisions due to the fact we have improved our municipal development plan. I would continue to improve communications while sitting at the council table or talking to taxpayers to hear your concerns. I would continue to liaise with the province on our secondary highways, such as Secondary Highway 771, Secondary Highway 604 and Secondary Highway 795. I would continue to improve connecting roads with other municipalities. Continuing to listen, striving to meet your needs and returning all phone calls would continue to be my priority!”

Frank Cissell

Occupation: Farmer

Marital status, family: Married with two children and four grandchildren.

Community involvement: “I’ve spent15 years with the Gull Lake Deer Creek Gas Co-op, volunteered as a minor hockey coach, member of the Moose, director of the Dakota Cemetery Association.”

Why are you running for county office? “I am running for office because I want to represent the ratepayers of the county. As a councillor, it would be my job to listen to the ratepayers’ concerns and represent them fairly. I feel that as a member of a rural community, it is important that the other member’s ideas and opinions are heard.”

Bruce Millar

Age: 58

Occupation: Farmer

Marital status, family: five children

Community involvement: director on Crestomere Recreation Association and past president.

Why are you running for county office? “I think there needs to be a change.”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents? “The county needs some honesty in the process, with an eye to the future.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “I don’t think there are too many issues. I think it’s run well, and there are some good employees who look after the county well.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “I would look into having better roads, and whatever is best of the future of the county.”

Division 4: (election pending)

Paul McLauchlin

Age: 40

Occupation: Own an environmental consulting company and has been a practicing professional biologist for over 15 years.

Marital status, family: Married to Melinda with son, Adam, five, and daughter, Trelaina, seven. My greatest accomplishment.

Community involvement: “I am active with the Liberty Hall board and the annual Liberty Hall play and have been a strong supporter of local fundraising and youth-based activities. With a five-year-old and a seven-year-old you can only imagine how many activities, fundraisers and events we attend in our community.”

Why are you running for county office? “I believe I now have more to offer as an incumbent as I can put in place long-term goals and plans to better serve the ratepayers of Ponoka County. In raising my kids here I wish to make sure they continue to have a bright future in Ponoka County and not look only to the lights of the big cities for all of their opportunities.”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents? “I have 20 years of leadership, management, and technical experience to support sustainable decisions that the ratepayers of Ponoka County can count on. A sense of fiscal duty to ensure we are not deficit spending and make sure that every dollar is spent respecting the hard work that made that tax dollar.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “Long term planning is the key piece that needs to be put in place. The Municipal Development Plan was a major accomplishment of council last term and needs to be supported by long term planning initiatives so that the ratepayers of Ponoka have a say in the future landscape of the county. This initiative must consider the growing demands and influence that urban Albertan has on the provincial dollars previously shared by all municipalities.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “Keeping taxes low, supporting agriculture, supporting small community ideas/activities and diversifying. Easier said then done. A low tax environment is as critical to agriculture as a strong infrastructure, however we need to grow our non-linear and non-resource tax base to accommodate future changes in tax revenue streams. This must be achieved by making planning decisions that make good neighbours.

As my grandfather always said: “It takes hard work to be a good neighbour, good neighbours don’t just happen.” We need to make decisions that make it easier to be good neighbours.”

Reini Wright

Age: 60

Occupation: Semi retired farmer/trucker

Marital status, family: Widowed, two grown children, both married.

Community involvement: “In past years I’ve been involved in 4-H clubs and the local hall board.”

Why are you running for county office? “I think I would be very assessable to the electorate and bring honesty, integrity, openness and new ideas to council.”

Why should voters elect you ahead of your opponents? “I have lived in the division since 1962 and am well known. I have an understanding of road construction and know the county road system from my years working on the county gravel crew. I have paid attention to county affairs in the past and this knowledge may aid decisions made in the future.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “Keeping taxes as low as possible without jeopardizing our infrastructure.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “By keeping our infrastructures strong, fire departments, seniors manors, recreational assets, landfill etc., I will be doing my share at keeping our quality of life in the county intact.”

Division 5: (acclaimed)

E. Keith Beebe

Age: 69

Occupation: Farmer

Marital status, family: Married, three children, eight grandchildren.

Community involvement: Rural Crime Watch, hall boards, county-appointed committees/boards

Why are you running for county office? “To try to make improvements in areas that I feel need to be improved. I have six years experience dealing with county issues.”

What are the most important issues facing the county? “Roads, water protection because of subdivisions.”

How would you improve the quality of life in the county? “Keep the roads in as good as possible condition.”

Don’t forget to cast your vote Oct. 18.