MEDICINE HAT, AB – Les Pearson says improving the quality of life in Medicine Hat has kept him going for the past seven years on council.
“Nobody gets into this business because they want honour or respect, but they want to be somebody who makes a difference in the community, and contribute to the well-being of the people who live here,” he said. “That’s me. I believe I’m my brother’s keeper, and it’s important to look after the welfare of those people who are my neighbours.”
Pearson, a retired teacher and principal, is seeking his third term on city council, having first been elected in 2010. He says he’s learned lots over his first two terms.
“I’ve learned that the city’s business involves a lot of businesses beyond public service,” he said. “The utility business is a major resource to our community, but it takes a great deal of understanding and experience with the problems that have been experienced.”
Pearson says the problems he’s referencing is a downturn in the price of oil, natural gas and electricity. He says the downturn has made him realize the city needs to rely on wealth that isn’t from those resources, and says rebuilding the city’s wealth is the biggest priority for the city in the next term.
“That’s going to be a very big challenge,” he said. “We’re going to have to do it while keeping taxes reasonable, and certainly by being wise in our investments.
“For example, investing in new oil and gas drilling, but especially in the helium possibilities, is wise, and it’s also something that may bring us new prosperity.”
Pearson adds it is important for council to help market the city as a great place for business to set up shop and prosper, and says now is the time for companies to invest.
Throughout the campaign, Pearson has been running on a platform of “inclusion.” To him, inclusion means there is equality and equity in opportunities for all people in the community.
“It’s important that we celebrate the differences and diversity in our community,” he said. “Beyond that, inclusion also means that people aren’t barred from our culture, our social life, or any of those kind of activities that bring people together.”
Election day is October 16th.
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