Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin’s 10 years in municipal politics has in no way dimmed his enthusiasm for the job and he is more than ready to let his name stand for another term.
“I quite enjoy it,” he said. “I have a very good council and things are going well. It’s like I have hit a sweet spot in my political career and I just want to keep that going.”
McLauchlin, who has served one term as reeve, first became a county councillor in 2007.
With the fall election coming up, he is looking forward to moving ahead.
He believes that, now more than ever, rural Albertans need a strong advocate to speak up for them.
“Statistics show there are more urban than rural people in the world today,” he said.
McLauchlin is aware of the tough financial issues facing rural municipalities, but he is more than willing to face that challenge.
“We are facing a new reality with oil and gas prices so low, but it simply means we have to find new ways of doing things.”
The county reeve plans to be proactive regarding the effects of the carbon tax on rural Alberta. If elected he plans to throw his name into the hat and run as a District 2 representative on the Climate Advisory Committee for the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.
Last year was not without financial challenges for Ponoka County including the loss of around $3.5 million in taxes.
Despite this huge economic setback, the county was still able to hold the line on taxes. McLauchlin gives credit to previous councils for maintaining a streamlined operation over the years, a factor which definitely helped the present day council deal with this unforeseen crisis.
Being prudent and not relying on provincial grants to keep the operations budget healthy is a practice that worked in the past and continues to be practiced by the present day council as well,” he said.
Even as the economic climate ebbs and flows depending on world politics, McLauchlin notes that Ponoka County is a great place to live.
“We have low taxes and great service and we are truly an agricultural county. We are one of the last few (counties) who are not getting urban pressure.”
McLauchlin encourages voters to get out to the polls and cast a ballot in October.
“We need to get more people out to vote. Four years is a long time for the wrong person to be elected.”