A Crossfield resident for the last 12 years, Michael Knight is hoping he can parlay his two decades of volunteer experience and his drive to better the community into a position on Town council.
Knight is among three candidates vying for two vacant seats in the Town of Crossfield’s May 10 byelection. New to politics, he said his motivation to run in the byelection stems from his desire to improve and increase Crossfieldians’ engagement with local government.
“I’m very much open-minded to hear the voice of the people,” he said. “I’ll make time to talk to people and if they have a concern to address, I’m very much trying to get a community-oriented focus into the council position.
“I think we’re on the right track because we have council meetings online now through YouTube. Getting more engagement and involvement will help us make better decisions and have better direction in town.”
A volunteer for the last 20 years, Knight recently became the new president of Crossfield Minor Baseball. He previously helped run the Crossfield Curling Club for eight years,
In terms of what he views as Crossfield’s priorities, Knight said the municipal government should try to entice more people and businesses to the community and help local companies. He cited a high percentage of vacant buildings in Crossfield’s industrial area as an area of concern.
“It would be great if we could get people back in here,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s through tax incentives and then we give those incentives to local businesses also, but for the history of the Town of Crossfield, as far as I’ve known, our commercial area and our industrial stuff have really helped our tax base as citizens, and that’s going away.”
Knight added another reason he decided to run was learning the salary of Crossfield's Chief Administrative Officer – an amount he says should be lowered.
“I have a real concern that in a town of 3,300, we have a CAO making $193,000,” he said. “The mayor of Calgary makes $200,000, so that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
Longer-term, Knight said he thinks another priority for the Town of Crossfield should be to pursue more recreational options for local youth, such as a BMX track, batting cages or an outdoor pool.
Though he acknowledges these would be expensive endeavours and possibly not viable for a town of Crossfield's size, he said it’s worth looking into, at the very least.
“It would be interesting to see if there is viability in some of these services,” he said.
While he hopes Crossfieldians will vote for him on May 10, Knight said he knows the other two candidates personally and feels they are also strong contenders. He added he thinks the community will benefit regardless of which two are elected.
“Either way, it’s a win-win for Crossfield, whoever gets voted in,” he said. “That’s my excitement, to be honest.”
“It almost takes the worry off my back – I’m happy we have three great people running.”