The stage is set for a true battle of Rural Titans at the 2023 Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) Convention in Edmonton next week, as incumbent RMA Vice President Kara Westerlund faces off against challenger Reeve Amber Link in the race for the coveted position of Vice President or the rural municipal organization.
Westerlund, a seasoned politician, has been a pivotal figure in the RMA landscape since assuming the role of Vice President in 2017. Her contender, Amber Link, brings her own formidable political pedigree to the table. Having served as the Reeve of Wheatland County since 2018, Link's presence in the District 2 Director position has significantly bolstered her candidacy.
With both candidates eyeing the position of Vice President, the electoral dynamics have intensified, setting the stage for a highly anticipated clash of political titans. Notably, the winner of the Vice Presidency on November 8th will be exempt from the upcoming Directors election on November 9th.
Link, a well-established figure in the Wheatland County political landscape, has maintained an influential role since her first election to District 2 in 2017. If unsuccessful in the Vice President election, Link will run for re-eleciton for the position of District 2 Director, she is facing challenger Clearwater County Deputy Reeve Gennifer Melhalf.
On the other hand, Westerlund, a seasoned figure in Brazeau County's political fabric since 2010, is prepared to navigate a challenging path in her bid for re-election as Vice President.
If unsuccessful, her subsequent contest for the District 3 Director position against the incumbent Reeve John Burrows of Woodlands County is set to inject further drama into the week long convention.
In another corner of the RMA electoral arena, the uncontested retention of Kevin Wirsta, the District 5 Director hailing from the County of St. Paul, signals a vote of confidence from the RMA constituency. Wirsta's unchallenged continuation for another two-year term suggests widespread approval of his leadership and vision within the organization.
As delegates at this years RMA convention brace for the pivotal elections ahead, the convention is poised to witness an electrifying display of political prowess and strategic maneuvering. In a interview with Municipal Affairs this week, Reeve Paul McLauchlin who is President of RMA said that the weeks long convention will be a great place for rural leaders to come to the table and hear what is going right and what is going wrong, "(RMA) members always feel like they've been heard at these conferences. "You know, we don't we don't pussyfoot around. They tell you what they think and as President of RMA they tell me what they think of me to trust me, I hear it," McLuachlin added. He added that provincial representatives and cabinet minister will be in attendance speaking with delegates, "It's a good pulse check for the government. When you meet with the people that are the salt of the earth that I represent the real common sense you get to hear what's right and what's wrong."
The RMA 2023 Fall Convention and Tradeshow will take place November 6 – 9, 2023 at the Edmonton Convention Centre.