Abbie Houston is hoping to learn the inner working of Swift Current City Council rather than make a series of election promises during her campaign to earn one of six councillor spots on council.
Houston, a Realtor with RE/MAX of Swift Current and a longtime board member of Victim Services South West, admits that her campaign is not focusing on a series of specifics and promises.
“There aren’t, because simply I don’t know. I haven’t been on council. Just as a citizen like anybody else I watch what our council does, and of course what our city does and what we’re building and what we’re not. I watch from afar, but never really paid more attention to it or never really asked them detailed questions. I just trusted the guidance of our mayor and council and left it at that.”
“Whether I could say ‘yea’ or ’nay’ to something specific when I don’t have the experience in that, I don’t think would be wise for me to do.”
She prides herself on being very adaptable and open to new ideas, and through her past experiences she enjoys working in a team setting with like minded people.
“To me it’s important that any council at any level, whether it’s a city or a sports team, you need to have positive people. They need to be optimistic. They need to be forward thinkers, and be realists. Which I am all of those things, and many of the other folks that are running a number of them are the same way as well.”
She said the campaign and networking with voters has been an enjoyable experience during her first foray into municipal politics.
“Its been fun for me for sure. I’m not an incumbent, so I guess that’s a benefit cause I don’t have too many people who are not happy with me,” she chuckled. “Being the ‘newbie’ instead you haven’t upset anybody yet.”
“It’s been interesting too watching other people’s campaigns. I don’t watch a lot of it but a little bit.”
And while she does not have a series of specifics in her campaign, she did speak briefly about the Integrated Facility because the topic has been widely discussed by other candidates.
“I’m all for it. I don’t know who wouldn’t be. But. There’s a big but and a big dollar sign attached to that. So without federal, provincial and likely private funding, it will not happen. It wouldn’t happen in any community. I don’t know of a municipality, whether it’s a big city or one our size, that would have that sort of walking around money just stashed away waiting to build a facility. It’s just unreasonable to think that you could do it without every level of government being involved.”
Houston does feel that the city is moving in right direction and highlights that Swift Current compares favourably against other communities.
“That last four years when I’ve been mulling this decision around in my head. Yeah, I think we are (moving in the right direction). Would I like to see the taxes be less, of course I would, who wouldn’t.”
“But again I look at things from a different perspective I suppose. There’s a reason for that spending. There’s a reason why taxes are the way they are. There’s always a benefit to every expense. If there isn’t, then we have a problem. But from what I have read and seen and been told when I have asked questions, I am totally satisfied with those answers and I do think we are moving in the right direction.”
She added that her experience with Victim Services South West has provided her with some important board and operating experience. She has been involved with Victim Services for over 21 years, starting her time in North Battleford and continuing here. She did some on call field work during her early years, but made transition to the board and is currently sitting as Chairperson.
“It’s a program that’s dear to me for sure. Its been very well run here in Swift Current, long before I ever got here. And we continue to do the same. We have great board members, a couple of great staff at City Detachment that they’re just phenomenal. It’s an important service that we have in our city too, not every city has it, or if they do it’s not run quite as good as we are.”
Houston is looking forward to the November 9th election and the remaining networking that will occur down the final days of the campaign.
“There seems to be a lot of interest in our city election this year,” she said.
“There’s just a lot going on in the world of politics. Its been good. I think more people are talking about politics, even people my age that I know that have never voted before are going to vote. Young people are going to be able to vote. I just think it brings a lot of good conversation to the topic that doesn’t happen otherwise I don’t think.”