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Yellowhead County Mayoral Candidates

Yellowhead County will have a new mayor for the first time since 2007, with six candidates vying to replace the now resigned Gerald Soroka. Yellowhead County has several formal service and funding agreements, as well as longstanding partnerships to deliver services to residents of both municipalities.

Bios and answers published have been subject to minimal editing prior to publication. The mayoral byelection takes place Dec. 16.

Jim Eglinski

I am a proud Albertan with the dependable EXPERIENCE and LEADERSHIP that Yellowhead County deserves. I was born and raised in Alberta, my chosen career at age 19 was the RCMP, retiring after 35 years.

My public service career continued by entering politics. I served as councillor and mayor for the City of Fort St John; Director with the Peace River Regional District; B.C. Coroner’s Service; Consumer Taxation Ministry; Alberta Forest Service. The last 5 years it’s been a honour to serve as Yellowhead Riding’s Member of Parliament.

I have put my name forward because of my love of public service and my knowledge and experience dealing with all levels of government. The Canadian and Alberta economies’ are struggling! I feel it is imperative that our Yellowhead Council has a strong leader to take us forward to a prosperous future.

I am concerned about the recent federal election and it’s impact on Alberta and in particular Yellowhead County. Alberta’s 2019 budge show a need for government to be cautious ; live within its’ means. I feel the same applies to this county and I commit to responsible fiscal management.

I commit to working with council to provide the public services and infrastructure needs for Yellowhead County. I believe in team work. Yellowhead County has an excellent elected council today and I will work with them to focus on policies that create the right conditions for sustainable long-term economic growth.

As a council we must be vigilant and spend only what we can afford. We must pay attention to our revenue streams, to enable us to fund our public services as needed. I understand these needs and demans and the importance in being able to communicate and work with Yellowhead Council, the staff, neighbouring municipalities and counties and the provincial and federal governments.

This will take experienced leadership! You will be voting for a proven leader; a team player and a person who can work with all levels of governmant, a person who listens and is willing to work closely with the public.

Doug Elzinga

Hello Hinton and area! My name is Doug Elzinga. 

I’ve been married for over 20 years and my wife Dawn and we have 7 children ranging from 19 to 12 with a 7-year-old bonus. We are currently raising the 5 th generation of home-grown Albertans on our farm near Peers. Our family is extremely active with many various interests. When we are not working, we are involved in 4-H and Brazilian Ju Jitsu, downhill and cross county ski, snowmobile, hunt, quad, tube at the lake, raft down the river, horseback ride, play hockey, hike and camp. We love the outdoors, to play, learn and explore.

As a lifelong resident with deep roots, as a business owner, and as someone who works in the same challenging conditions as so many of you, I have the practical knowledge to help run this County. I know how to get my hands dirty, and I know how to put on a suit. I have a keen interest in economics, finances and government. Probably because it impacts us on a practical level every day. I don’t like big government, or oppressive taxes. I believe people are capable of thinking for themselves and should be allowed to start things they love to do with an entrepreneurial spirit.

I am running because I would like to see a stable future for all the families in our County. I’d like to see our children and grandchildren be able to live and prosper here well into the future. I’d like the County to clear the path for residents to be entrepreneurial, and not have to stumble over complicated rules and red tape. 

I’d like to see residents feel like the County is not recklessly spending their tax dollars but managing its resources with respect for residents. I’d like to see local companies who pay taxes, and employ locals, bidding on projects within our county. I’d like residents to feel that they have a voice and that it is being heard. 

And, I’d like residents to feel that they are being treated with fairness. In a time when so many people are struggling, I really want to see us pull together, and look after our own. I’d also like to see a much better job of communicating done between County and Residents, so everyone is current with what is happening within our County.

Gloria MacDonald

I am running for mayor of Yellowhead County on Dec 16/2019

I have lived in the yellowhead county all my life, 11 years in Hinton the rest in Wildwood, where with my husband Don we reside to this day. We have raised 3 children. Along with being a wife, mother, farmer, and a business owner, I also have a Journeyman Millwright ticket.

One question I was asked is. Do I qualify for the mayor position?

Some may think that if you don’t have previous knowledge as a councillor, or have corporate knowledge you are not qualified. I disagree. Raising a family, owning a business, running a farm. Or even acquiring a trade gives anyone the qualifications needed to be mayor. 

Being Mayor is about all of Yellowhead county. It is about listening to the people. What their concerns are. How can you help them with their concerns! And making educated decisions. Also doing what is right. I believe Yellowhead County has so much potential. For all the communities, the families and the businesses they support, to fulfill all their needs.

People are concerned weather the joint multiplex project in Edson is a good idea.

The facility is a good idea. It would bring people into the area. But is it financially feasible at this time? This project may have to be postponed for a later date. 

Rural crime is also an ongoing issue:

At the moment the county has 8 peace officers, there are groups like CITIZENS ON PATROL, RURAL CRIME WATCH, that work with the RCMP. The Provincial government has just announced some help for the municipalities. Approximately 300 uniformed officers will be joining detachments and special units across the Province. This will be a cost to each municipality

Since I have put my name forward as a mayoral candidate, questions have arisen about the fire services in the county. I have looked on the County Web Site and I have not found very much information on the Fire Services. When I become mayor, I will be looking into this! As all county business should be transparent.

Wayne Murphy

On December 16 I will be running for Yellowhead County Mayor. I have been a long time resident of Yellowhead County, moving here in 1986. Since then I have been active as a volunteer and business man in the community.  I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience as a result of my public and private sector accomplishments.

Graduating with a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) in 1980 with majors in accounting and economics, I went on to become a Professional Accountant in public practice. Experience in Government audits as well as corporate and individual accounting services gives me unique skills to spearhead a go forward plan for the county. Additionally, I sat on numerous corporate boards as a director in both the public and private sectors. Those companies operated across a wide spectrum of industries including oil and gas, environmental recoveries, exploration, software development, new technology development, agriculture, forestry, land development and investment properties. For several years I served as the Chairman of the audit committee of a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange with reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

My core strengths are my communication and leadership skills with a focus on developing a team approach to building strong and fiscally responsible delivery of services. I have always been actively involved in volunteer work both locally and abroad.  For years I coached minor hockey, was co-founder of the Yellowhead Music Festival, master of ceremonies for the Special Olympics, 4-H coach and community volunteer.

When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in 2016 I joined 21 other Albertans to provide emergency hurricane relief and to help rebuild homes and community support systems in a devastated country. My friends would say I have an unmatchable work ethic and loyalty. I have been equally comfortable in the Boardroom or working side by side with my team in the field. Most importantly I have strong financial skills and the knowledge base to analyze the best return on operational and capital budgeting.

I am not the quintessential politician. My purpose in putting my name forward is to give back to the community that provided the environment for my successes. We need to ensure that the next generation is not saddled with debt and heavy taxation. It is for these reasons that I feel I am the best option for Mayor in the upcoming by-election on December 16th

Jack Williams

I am a long-term resident of Yellowhead County. I have served county residents as councilor for 13 years. I left council two years ago but have had the pleasure of working with many of current council and administration.

I started school in Hinton in grade four in the pulpmill warehouse and moved to classrooms as they were being built. I graduated from Harry Collinge High School, attend SAIT at the Alberta College of Art. I married my high school sweetheart and we had two children.

I have been involved in the community since my teens and have never looked back. I was employed by Northwestern Pulp & Power in accounting; moved to Cardinal River Coals Ltd. Where I became Personnel Manager hiring as many local people as possible until I left in 1985. I joined YR Radio on the sales team, became Sales Manager, later a partner and Vice President of Yellowhead Broadcasting until it sold. I was diagnosed with cancer and took some time off but worked part time for the Alberta Council for Sustainable Communities and the Environment; then as constituency manager for MLA Campbell until 2013.

I have been involved in many community and volunteer groups, most notable 15 years on the Hinton Hospital Board; Promotions Director for the Alberta Seniors Games; director on the board of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, (APTN), 15 years as a director of the Yellowhead Gas Co-Op and many more.

In my retirement I enjoy woodcrafts, both art pieces and bird houses, feeders, decoration etc. all of which I donate to local charities such as seniors lodges, MS bike ride, Breast Cancer Research, Hinton Legion, and the Rocky Mountain Wilderness Society, Children of Chernobyl and others.

I also enjoy the outdoors and spend much time riding my ATV , or driving my truck taking pictures of the area which many have been shown on Global Edmonton morning weathercasts.

My son, Jason lives in the county and daughter, Jacqueline live in Hinton as well as my grandsons.

* A sixth candidate, Fred Glober, did not respond to requests from The Hinton Voice to submit a candidate profile, picture and an answer to our question.

The Hinton Voice asked each candidate “What is your vision and thoughts on working with municipalities such as Hinton in regards to revenue sharing, mutual agreements, future projects etc.?” 

Jim Eglinski

We rely on Hinton and Edson as major service centres for the residents of Yellowhead County, the industries in the area, local businesses etc. 

I feel the three local governments must work together in close collaboration and consultation.

Together we are stronger and collectively we can provide the best services to all residents of Yellowhead County. Revenue sharing is an investment that enables Hinton and/or Edson to provide the services and needs that our residents expect and deserve. Assisting each other in mutual aid agreements for major infrastructure projects or services, is in plain words just good common sense sharing of responsibilities.

All Yellowhead County residents share in the services provided by our two major communities, we MUST work together. Yellowhead County, Hinton and Edson councils together make us much stronger, will improve information sharing, and collectively we as a team effort, will ensure long lasting benefits for all of our residents.

Doug Elzinga

I am very willing to work with all the municipalities on cost sharing and future projects. The key principals for me will be: Can we afford it? Is it a want or a need? Is it located in a practical location? How much will it cost to maintain it? Will it be too much of a financial burden in the future? If finances are tight, can we find a compromise – such as downsizing for the time being with room for future expansion? I have done this in my own business, and it works. I want to strike a fair balance when it comes to spending. Certain services, such as the Brule Firehall, are a need for the safety of that community. We need to make sure that we are also taking care of our smaller hamlets so they too can feel secure and prosper. Feel free to phone or message me on Facebook. I’m happy to listen.

Gloria MacDonald

It is important for the County to have good relations with Hinton and Edson alike. My vision is to have a smooth working relationship with Hinton and Edson. Mutual agreements, and revenue sharing can be beneficial for all communities involved. Even though it is not part of the county, Hinton is within the boarders of the county. They are our neighbours. The facilities in Hinton do benefit the county residents. To duplicate these facilities would be financially irresponsible. These existing facilities, and amenities attract more families into the communities in and around Hinton. This in turn helps the county with more residents, and with more people, more businesses.

Wayne Murphy

It is always important to have good working relations with all our neighbors, but obviously the most important ones are the Towns of Edson and Hinton which Yellowhead County encumbrances. There is great value in ensuring that cost sharing on certain projects is established, since residents from each of the distinct areas use facilities in the others jurisdiction. Most notably of course are recreation facilities, libraries, and roads that are in the Towns of Edson and Hinton that are used by county residents. And of course the large infrastructure of roads in the county that are used by town residents for camping, hunting, fishing, ATV and snowmobile use and access to lakes and other recreational areas. In order to ensure fair and valuable cost sharing there needs to be effective communications and a stellar working relationship with each jurisdiction, keeping in mind the responsibility each council has to the tax payers for fiscal obligations.

Jack Williams

I support working together with both in Hinton and Edson. Revenue sharing and mutual agreements are in place. The revenue sharing is based on a formula to keep with current times.

Mutual agreements have been in place for many years for fire protection, facilities etc. there may be others but not being on council for a few years I am not aware of any changes.

Unlike federal politics the Mayor has no power in changing things or agreeing to anything without the support of council. The fact is that the Mayor has but one vote, he or she can lobby fellow councilors but that’s all. Council usually addresses future projects or mutual benefit, as they arise.