With Airdrie’s municipal election race beginning to heat up, Heather Spearman is already blazing the campaign trail.
As a 14-year Airdrie resident, she said she has been invested in the community since she arrived. She said her drive to bring people together has been a part of her since she was a kid.
“I have always been bringing families and women together, even throughout the pandemic virtually,” she said. “A year ago, I was planning neighbourhood concerts in Bayside, where people could boat up to watch a concert, just so we could be socially distanced and support the arts.”
Spearman has also spent more than enough time around municipal politics, learning the ins and outs as she watched her father Chris Spearman – the out-going mayor of Lethbridge – perform his duties. Her father also served the Holy Spirit School Board for 18 years, which included two terms as board chair.
Spearman said the experience of seeing her dad work in politics has been a great help as she runs in her first political election.
“I learned a lot about how to run a campaign,” she said. “It is a part of who I am, and I am excited to have that experience as I navigate this.”
When it came time to decide to run, she noticed there were a number of frustrations she felt were out of her control. Wanting to continue to raise her family and live in a city and province she has always loved, she said she decided to do something about it.
“It has always been really important to me to vote and be involved,” she said. “I really feel like I can give more and do more on behalf of moms and families here in Airdrie.”
Spearman’s platform includes a few main points. The first surrounds the city’s amenities – she said while Airdrie has a strong sense of community, it is often crippled by a lack of amenities.
“That means we spend time and money elsewhere – namely Calgary – instead of locally,” she stated on her website. “Airdrie needs to attract and develop more services and businesses as well as creating work opportunities within our city.”
Another pillar in Spearman’s platform is centred around communication between the City and its residents.
“Families and individuals pay taxes into a local system where too many projects get delayed, eliminated, or redone,” her website stated.
Spearman’s website stated that as a result, mental health is affected, “and boredom can even result in petty crime.”
“We desperately need better communication between the City and its citizens around how money is being spent and honest explanations on why delays exist,” her site stated.
Mental health supports are needed now more than ever, according to Spearman’s platform, as wait lists for resources in Calgary continue to expand.
She has also cited being a voice for the local arts community is important to her as there needs to be more advocacy for the arts within council.
“There has been a lot of commentary towards the art community in Airdrie, that they are not passionate, not committed, and they don’t work hard to get what they want,” she said. “That is just not true.”
Having worked with many people in the arts locally over the years, Spearman said the art community in Airdrie is the most passionate, hardworking, and dedicated community she has come across.
“You could almost say obsessed,” she said. “I think the challenge is, as a general rule, we often see people who want to advocate for something here, and often it is put back on those groups. That is fine, but there is also a level of advocacy we can be doing for these groups.”
Ahead of the election, Spearman said she is hoping more people will pay attention and get out to vote on Oct. 18.
“I want to help people understand what is going on with municipal politics,” she said. “I want to help people get passionate about what is going on around them, which is critical.”