Current Division 8 representative Samanntha Wright has announced she will seek another term as a Rocky View County (RVC) councillor.
Wright’s announcement also means all three formerly sanctioned councillors have decided to run again. She said support from her constituents was a main driver in her decision to campaign for another term.
“That is probably the biggest reason I put my hat in the ring – the confidence of the electorate,” she said. “It’s one thing to think you can do a good job, it’s a whole other story when you have the support of the community.”
Wright will be running to grab the seat for the newly formed Division 4, where she’ll face off against newcomer Roc Spence and current reeve Daniel Henn.
“I did look at who was running in Division 4 and in my opinion, it’s more of the same old, same old,” she said. “I believe residents need a choice, and we all know they will make those choices known at the polls. I believe there is hope for change.”
While Wright was among the three sanctioned councillors, she also had to go to court against the County, who pursued legal action against her for alleged pecuniary interest and failure to pay taxes. The case was ultimately dismissed earlier this year.
For most, that would be enough to call it a day with politics. For Wright, she said she knew the job wasn’t going to be easy from the get-go.
“You could tell from the last campaign how hard the ‘development at any cost’ types went after me,” she said. “There was some mud-slinging, but they knew I would be a strong voice who would put the residents first. I’ll never waiver from that.”
Considering a very eventful last four years on council, filled with ups, downs, internal bickering, and legal battles, Wright said she has learned how to deal with different personalities and get a point across in different ways.
She added attending and navigating council meetings is just one aspect of the job.
“The biggest enjoyment for me is the residents,” she said. “You see a different problem every time. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is you can’t always fix everything, but I find people appreciate when you listen to them and take the time to move things forward.”
When it comes to election issues in Division 8, Wright said it will be important to get policy in place to better help the constant struggle that involves gravel pit applications in RVC. While she says everyone recognizes the need for gravel, it is about locating the resource appropriately.
“Residents just need assurances that they will be protected, and industry needs to know where they can and can’t operate,” she said. “Some real definitive gravel policies would be pivotal, moving forward.”
In addition, Wright said with the downturn in the Alberta economy, there has been a big shift toward agri-business. She said she would like to see the County place an additional focus on programs and initiatives for agricultural producers and businesses.
While there are a number of important issues to be discussed this municipal election, Wright said it will be crucial for council to find a better way to deal with the Calgary Metropolitan Regional Board (CMRB), whose regional growth strategy is something the County has been a vocal opponent of.
“I believe we need a strong voice, but at the same time, we need to show we can play well in the sandbox,” she said. “I believe we can collaborate and cooperate without being a doormat, although it will take some work to un-do our reputation.”
Given the sanctions and the legal battles she went through in the last term, Wright said there were many times she could have quit, but didn’t.
“I see the tides turning, and I see more residents getting involved and seeing what’s happening in the county,” she said. “It would be really nice if everyone got out to vote and got informed on the issues that impact them the most.”
For more information regarding Wright’s campaign, visit wrightforrockyview.com
As of press time, there are 16 candidates running for RVC council, including eight incumbents. Wright’s campaign announcement means the only current member who will not seek another term is Division 1 Coun. Mark Kamachi.
The election is slated to take place Oct. 18.