Julie Brandle for town council
Looking for a second term on Slave Lake’s town council is Julie Brandle. The first one turned out quite differently than she imagined it would, but that was part of what she liked about it.
“I had my ‘aha!’ moment,” she says. “I was thinking I could change the world and I found out how it really works. You have to dig deeper and find other ways to find solutions.”
It wasn’t all fun. Brandle says the time demands of council were quite difficult to deal with in her first year. But she figured out a way of handling that too, and looks forward to another term of ‘digging deep,’ on council.
‘The crew here (Royal LePage Realty) is excellent,” she says. “They really had my back. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Brandle is the owner of Royal LePage Progressive Realty since 2012 and was a realtor for several years before that. She came to Slave Lake from Ontario 24 years ago, and worked her way up, becoming a realtor in 2006 and acquiring her brokerage license in 2009.
In the candidate profile that appeared in The Leader prior to the 2013 election, Brandle conveyed a particular interest in housing, hoping that if elected she could do something to make it more available to those who need it (and can’t afford it). How much of that she was able to accomplish is unclear, but Brandle has spent most of the past four years as a council representative on the regional housing authority.
“That’s my baby,” she says.
On the other hand, she says she looks forward – if re-elected, of course – to trying out some different committee appointments. All councillors sit on several, and they are divvied up at the organizational meeting shortly after the election (and annually after that). No councillor is guaranteed anything.
“It all depends how the org. meeting goes,” she says. “You don’t know how many committees you’re going to be on.”
Another thing Brandle looks forward to doing more of is “responsible spending,” of taxpayer dollars. “We cut a lot out of the budget the last three or four years,” she says. “Without cutting service levels.”
Brandle says she’s been doing some door-knocking already in her campaign, and was “fast out the gate,” with campaign signs. Although as an incumbent she could be seen as having an advantage, she says she’s not taking anything for granted. And she knows exactly what she’s getting into this time.
“I had the rose-coloured glasses on in 2013,” she says. “It’s such a learning curve.”
Khadim Hussain for town council
Fas Gas owner Khadim Hussain has decided to run for a seat on the Slave Lake town council. There are a few issues that led him to take the step, which he explained in an interview last week.
“There is a lot of crime and vandalism,” he said. “My main focus is on this.”
Also, says Hussain, property taxes are too high. By getting involved in municipal politics, “maybe I can help (the community) out.”
Other topics of particular concern to Hussain are health care and education.
“As a council member I can raise my voice,” he says.
Another thing Khadim has been hearing complaints about is the ‘photo’ radar in town. That, along with the tactics of the town peace officers he thinks needs adjusting. Both should be focused on traffic near parks and schools, not on roads and highways where there aren’t problems. If elected he would advocate for a change there, he says.
Getting elected is the trick. He plans to do some door-knocking, and says he’s also got a team of volunteers to help him do it.
“I will ask every voter what are their concerns. I will listen to them and fight for that if I am elected.”
On a biographical note, the 51-year-old Hussain has been a Slave Lake resident for about 10 years, having moved with his family from Red Deer. They have three children – one still in school locally and the other two in university. Originally from the Malakand district (made famous in the west by Winston Churchill) of Pakistan, Hussain worked as a mechanical engineer in that country, in the field of gas distribution. He and his family came to Canada in 2005.
“I worked for Shell for three years,” he says. “I got this opportunity in Slave Lake in 2008.”
Since then he’s purchased other businesses in Smith, including Pumps on Main.