MEDICINE HAT, AB – An interest in politics and a drive to learn how his city operates has prompted Kris Samraj to seek public office
Samraj, who is the head of non-fiction services at the Medicine Hat Public Library, is among the 19 candidates seeking election to city council. He says he has been putting in lots of work to learn about the position and what being a councillor entails.
“I’ve been attending city council meetings for the past three years, because I’m interested in politics, and I wanted to learn as much about the process as I could” Samraj said.
In his time attending the meetings, Samraj noticed one thing about how council voted on issues, which gave him another reason to run for the seat.
“One thing that jumped out at me was that, on the vast majority of issues, this council votes 9-0,” he said. “I think consensus is great, but I think a variety of perspectives on council would help make better decisions.
“I think what would be nice is just to hear other sides of an issue there. It doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to win, but a lot of people have different ideas on the issue, and it would be nice to hear why a particular course of action would work or wouldn’t work.”
Samraj says if elected, his focus for the term is ensuring city council can make the best decisions for Medicine Hat.
“Council is such an important body for the city, it sets the direction for everything, whether it’s economic development or community building,” he said.
He cites the recent transit issues as an example of the decision-making process going wrong.
“Council has not given any explanation for what happened in the whole deliberation process, what went wrong,” he said. “Without knowing that, it’s hard to know if we can avoid the same mistake again. It’s a good example of how the right decisions by council could have a good effect, but the bad decisions can have a bad effect.”
Samraj says he recognizes the job is important, and says his preparation and willingness to learn helps set him apart from the remaining candidates.
“I recognize that the city can’t change overnight, and we need to be careful about what we promise, but I think through small, concrete steps, we can definitely make good progress there,” he said.
More information on Samraj’s platform can be found on his website.
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