After nine years on council, Keith Beebe of Ponoka County Council has decided not to return and instead will set out for Saskatchewan and a slower paced life.
He tried to retire several years ago when he gave up farming and decided it wasn’t for him yet. Beebe is going to give it another go; focus on fishing, gardening and his grandchildren in the Yorkton area.
Beebe decided to first run for council when his neighbours kept asking him to. “I was always interested in local politics. I was interested in any politics, I’d just never done anything about it.”
During that first campaign Beebe spent a week driving door-to-door with an honest message and strategy. He told ratepayers he would make no promises about progress but would work hard and when concerns needed addressing, they would appear before council.
“Now some of them are calling me a liar because I got stuff done,” said Beebe with a laugh.
Beebe learned neighbors don’t vote someone in as councillor because they’re smarter than everyone else, they vote for that person because they feel the candidate is just smart enough to take their concerns to council.
Over his years on council, Beebe achieved many accomplishments for the ratepayers. “I helped get Secondary Highway 607. I just worked with the government to get it. It really wasn’t a councillor’s job.”
Beebe also assisted with rural addressing, high speed Internet towers and, as a member of council, helped support the ag building in Rimbey. ‘The first year we got the Leedale Road built, it was a slop hole before that.”
Looking back, he says one of the biggest frustrations for him was the fact the seniors’ lodge he had worked for four years on wasn’t realized in his time on council. “I’m very disappointed it didn’t work. It’ll still go but it might take another two years,” he said.
While he enjoyed his time on council Beebe says he wouldn’t call every day fun. “You can please some of the people some of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time,” said Beebe, playing on President Lincoln’s “Fool” quote.
One of the factors that made his time on council so enjoyable was the people he worked with. “As far as I’m concerned I had a perfect staff over at the office . . . Also my working crew.”
Beebe calls his time on council a “great experience”, but for him there’s no looking back. “After I get over the feeling I’m not wanted anymore I don’t think I’ll miss it.”
“I spent a lot of sleepless nights . . . You’re not supposed to take it to bed but I did. My stomach couldn’t take it anymore,” he added.
Advising the new council, Beebe says members should learn to compromise. “Make sure to place principles before personalities, because that’s where everybody goofs up.”
Out of the five council members Beebe is the only one not seeking re-election.