Steinbach City Councillor Susan Penner has announced her intention to seek re-election.
Penner was first elected to city council in 2010 and has served in each of the last three terms. She notes running for another four-year term is no small choice, but she believes it is worthwhile.
“We are in the middle of numerous big projects and I'd really like to see those projects to completion over the next four years so that has certainly played a role in my decision to run again.”
The most significant project Penner is referring to is the Southeast Event Centre.
“That is by far the biggest project the city has done. The tenders have just gone out so it will be interesting to see where that comes in and make sure that we navigate that project in a responsible way.”
Penner notes she is pleased with the level of preparation that went into this project and the generosity from the private sector which both lighten the load on taxpayers and give the city flexibility moving forward. She adds, the decision to build downtown also benefits the community.
“Our downtown is filled with locally-owned businesses which keep profits in Steinbach and provide a stable economic foundation with direct ties to the community.”
Looking at the time she has spent on council so far, Penner says she is happy with what has been accomplished. She says maintaining quality infrastructure has always been a priority and even though it isn't glamorous, projects like the new water treatment plant really stand out.
“I am also really happy about some of these smaller projects that we do, even within neighbourhoods whether it is play structure parks or adding a basketball court to a park, those things just allow for quality of life and I think that is really important, our quality of life.”
As always, she notes going forward, her top priority is representing those that have elected her.
I think whenever there is a board or group of people, it is easy to get group think and you start making decisions based on your colleagues, what the council wants in this case. I always try and draw attention to the fact that we are representing the people who elected us, we are representing the community and I think that it is really important to keep at the forefront of all our decisions. Who elected us? what do they want?”
Penner says she is passionate about Steinbach and believes her experience can be a valuable asset to the city.
“It is beneficial to have people with experience on council. There is a big learning curve at the beginning but every term you just keep learning more and more and I think that experience is really valuable.”
As for being the only woman on council, Penner says that municipal politics traditionally has a low representation of women, yet they have important perspective to contribute. “I think it is important that women have a voice in municipal politics and that municipal councils consider how decisions impact women, children, and families.”
The municipal election will take place on October 26th.