A former provincial government worker and legal assistant has signed on to run for St. Albert city council.
Jennifer Cote, who has lived in St. Albert for 12 years, said that she is passionate about politics and good governance, and that she believes her background in policy development for Alberta would lend well to the role.
“I’m an advocate of freedom and responsible personal choice,” Cote said. “I really cherish our democracy, and I believe it’s a wonderful tool that allows us to shape the world that we want to see around us.”
These days, Cote said she is busy with homeschooling her child and connecting to community through grassroots projects.
“It’s important to me to gather with like-minded people who share a certain social concern, or an issue with governance or policy,” Cote said.
Cote said transparency and community engagement would be her main priorities if she was elected as councillor.
“Community engagement is really lacking at all levels of governance,” Cote said. “Constituents start to feel like they’re not all represented by their elected officials, and elected officials become out of touch with their electors.”
Current city projects, such as the proposed Municipal Energy Corporation (MEC) and Badger Lands solar farm, are not reflective of the community’s interest, Cote argued.
“If you get out on the ground and you talk to people, there isn’t robust support for those kinds of projects,” Cote said.
In addition to increased community engagement, Cote said wants to hone in on fiscal policy, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re seeing lots of talk coming out of current council about revenue generating initiatives, but we’re not really seeing any cost saving initiatives,” Cote said. “That’s something we need to have a discussion about.”
For example, Cote said the city could look at revisiting subsidies to Servus Credit Union Place, or taking a closer look at the public transit system.
“I think it’s under-utilized and we’re spending a lot of money keeping that afloat,” Cote said.
Though Cote said she has a vision of what she would like to see happen in St. Albert, she said that reaching out to St. Albertans will also be key for determining what she supports.
“At the end of the day, in a well-functioning democracy, it’s not up to me,” Cote said. “We really need to nurture engagement if we want to create an inclusive community that we can all call home and feel proud of, and that takes the work of all community members.”