The second day of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) convention in Edmonton saw Brazeau County Councillor Kara Westerlund triumph over Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link to retain her position as Vice President of RMA.
In an exclusive interview with Municipal Affairs, following her re-election, Westerlund underscored her commitment to enhancing communication channels, with the Provincial Government.
Emphasizing the pressing need for improved communication, Westerlund stated, "We're seeing disasters happen periodically in the past, and now it seems to be every season. So that's why communication is going to be so important as we move forward and make sure that we have people in the right areas - at the right times - fighting the right things, whether it's floods, whether it's droughts, whether it's wildfires."
Westerlund outlined her vision for fostering collaborative efforts, underscoring the necessity of establishing a seamless flow of communication between RMA members as well.
Expressing her confidence in the RMA membership, she joked that the RMA membership aren't known to stay silent, "We're a bunch of folks, if we've got something to say, we're going to say it, you're going to hear about it. And that's the thing that I hold near and dear to my heart."
Westerlund says that people who know her best know her as someone as the, 'It should have been done yesterday type-of-girl', and that she plans to hit the ground running in addressing the issues and concerns from this weeks convention, "'I'm doing this for my community, for my area, but I'm also doing it for rural Alberta. And that means all 69 rural municipalities and all those Albertans that live on that landscape too."
During her acceptance speech, Westerlund extended gratitude to the Brazeau County members for their unwavering trust in her abilities, all while juggling her duties as a Council Member.
Reflecting on the backing of her council, she shared, "I thank them right away because to be honest with you, I wouldn't be where I am today without that group of people that sit there. You know, I always joke we don't always agree. Sometimes we don't like each other. But at the end of the day, we have each other's back"
Acknowledging the demands of her role, Westerlund highlighted the extensive travel and commitment required, thanking her supportive council for their unwavering backing, "I run over 160 days a year, generally doing my work in meetings for RMA, which takes me all over the province all over Canada and actually into the US too as well. So it's so key and so vital to have that support."
She also recognized the vital role of her family in her journey, she expressed her appreciation for their unanimous support in her decision to seek another term, "If I don't have the support from my family I would never be able to do this"
Burrows Acclaimed, Link to Face Melhaff for District 2 Director
In the wake of Vice President Westerlund's successful election, John Burrows, Councillor for Woodlands County has now secured his re-election as District 3 Director for RMA. Had Westerlund lost the election for Vice President, a head-to-head battle between Burrows and Westerlund.
Meanwhile, the political arena is heating up as Reeve Link braces for a face-off against the formidable Clearwater County Deputy Reeve Gennifer Melhalf. With the election for the highly sought-after District 2 Director position on the Rural Municipalities of Alberta Board slated for early Thursday morning. Link is the current Division 2 Director.