An Okotoks councillor has thrown her hat into the race for mayor.
Tanya Thorn announced on June 9 she will be running for mayor of Okotoks in the 2021 municipal election, to be held Oct. 18.
“I am passionate about this community and I am ready to lead us forward with some new energy and new thinking,” Thorn said during her Facebook Live announcement, which was broadcast from the patio at HubTown Brewing.
She said creating great government requires building strong and trusting relationships with citizens and businesses, and working with the entire community, council, and Town administration to achieve a shared vision.
The goal is to strengthen the resiliency of the town and continue to create an exceptional community with opportunities for all residents and entrepreneurs, she said.
“My track record shows I’m prepared,” said Thorn. “I am willing to have tough conversations and lean into them to understand the various perspectives.”
While she said not everyone will always agree, Thorn committed to always informing the community on why decisions were made.
She said the next three months will entail several opportunities to connect with the community across different platforms and at events as health restrictions allow.
The decision to run for mayor was not arrived at easily, but Thorn said her passion for Okotoks led to the commitment.
“I felt there were some things in our community that I wanted to move us forward into, and I felt I’ve worked very hard on my leadership development, particularly over the last four years,” Thorn said during an interview following the announcement.
Thorn has served as a Town councillor since 2013, and has been elected as director of Towns South for the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) for three consecutive two-year terms. She is also currently vice-president of the AUMA board of directors.
Mayor Bill Robertson has previously announced he will not seek re-election.
These roles have prepared her to move Okotoks forward, she said, noting it’s about creating a strong team with fellow councillors, Town staff, and all residents and businesses.
“Without all of us functioning together it’s really hard to move in a shared vision direction,” said Thorn. “I think I have the skills to make that happen.”
Okotoks is on the precipice of its future and positioned to take a solid step forward, she said.
That means becoming a more inclusive community.
“Creating a community where we have the professional opportunities for people to work here, we have a diverse amount of housing so that it doesn’t matter what demographic, age group, life situation you’re in, there’s something that meets your needs in this community,” said Thorn.
It’s also about reconnecting the community after the events of the last 15 months, she said.
“It’s created a very polarized and divided community, this past year, and I think we need time to heal from that,” said Thorn. “So really focusing on the community well-being and rebuilding the great things we do.”
She said she will be signing the AUMA pledge for candidates, which commits those running for municipal office to keep elections local, maintain independence and non-partisanship, demonstrate transparency and engage in respectful behaviour.
“I encourage all candidates considering running in the election to sign this pledge and commit to these principles as well,” said Thorn. “I encourage you, as voters, to ask about it.”