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From counsellor to councillor? Rachael Mercedes running again in Oct. 18 election

Four years after running in the 2017 municipal election, marriage and family counsellor Rachael Mercedes is taking another crack at the chance to fill a seat on Airdrie City council.
Family and marriage counsellor Rachael Mercedes is gunning for a position on Airdrie City council.

Four years after running in the 2017 municipal election, marriage and family counsellor Rachael Mercedes is taking another crack at the chance to fill a seat on Airdrie City council.

A resident of the city for eight years, Mercedes said she was inspired to run for council again this fall, as she is still interested in making a difference in her community. She added she sees several needs in Airdrie that she would like to help fulfil, such as the establishment of low-income housing options for seniors and families.

“I’ve noticed small businesses and local residents suffering during this pandemic that is now an epidemic,” she said. “People are losing their jobs and are concerned. In Airdrie, there is no low-income housing for families.

“The money people are putting out, not everyone retires and has that kind of money – $3,000 to $3,500 just to get a room in an elderly home in Airdrie is a shame.”

Mercedes ran for council for the first time in 2017, among a field of 23 candidates, and garnered 1,566 votes. In that election, her platform promoted the need for a women’s shelter and a hospital in Airdrie.

Four years on from her first run in municipal politics, Mercedes said her platform this year centres on transparency, intelligent planning and development. In addition to the creation of a new library, she would also like to see the stabilization of utility rates, lower taxes for homes and businesses, and increased diversity among the City’s programming.

Other platform points Mercedes said are important to her include creating more opportunities for Airdrie’s youth, business development, environmental responsibility, and advocacy for increased ambulance coverage in the city.

“We need approximately two or three ambulances at all times, because the paramedics tell me there are times where Airdrie has an emergency but one ambulance has been called and then another one has to come from Calgary,” she said. “Why are all the ambulances in Calgary and there are none here?”

Another focus Mercedes wants to bring up during the campaign period is accountability, as she argues the City needs to be accountable for how it spends residents’ tax dollars.

The second-time council candidate said Airdrie has a lot of potential and a lot to offer its citizens, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to close or slow down.

“If I get a seat on City council, I would like to work toward to the establishment of a strong, active community for future generations through economic and social development,” she said.

As a family and marriage counsellor with a PhD in narcotics therapy, Mercedes said the personal qualities that make her a suitable councillor are her communication skills and her tenacity.

“I’m a communicator – I love to communicate with people,” she said. “When I communicate with people, I like to make sure it’s done.”

With voters preparing to head to the polls on Oct. 18, Mercedes said she also hopes to get the message out about the importance of voting, citing the 2017 election statistic that only 24 per cent of eligible Airdrie residents cast their ballots in the last municipal election.

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19

Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, editor
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