Posted on Feb 12, 2016

Life as an MLA is busy but I wouldn't have it any other way

As always, life as an MLA is busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the past month I’ve attended many events and addressed many issues locally and at caucus and committee meetings in Edmonton. I also took a few days off to refresh and make sure I am full of vim and vigour as I dive into the work ahead of us.

As you may know, Lethbridge has welcomed 111 refugees over the past few months. I am very proud of the warmth with which our community has embraced these new Canadians. It speaks to our sense of community and I look forward to providing whatever support I can to help our new residents settle and thrive.

The Guidelines for Best Practices presented by Alberta Education recently have been top of mind for many of you, and for me, and I appreciate the feedback and questions I’ve received on that issue. I want you to know that we are working with school boards to make sure that policies reflect their values and those of students and parents, while also responding to the need for us to ensure that every student in Alberta feels loved, supported and included.

I attended meetings in Edmonton with the Caucus after which I welcomed our mayor, Chris Spearman, and one of his senior managers, Doug Hawkins, to meet with a number of the ministers to discuss Lethbridge priorities. I felt the meetings were very productive and believe Mayor Spearman and Mr. Hawkins would agree.

Interacting with our local youth is a source of great joy for me; one of the biggest highlights of the past month was visiting with Mr. Hartman’s Grade 9 class at St. Francis Junior High School and having an engaging and informative conversation with his students. We are blessed to have such thoughtful youth as the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you to Mr. Hartman and his students for inviting me to participate.

I also had the honour and privilege to attend many celebrations and events over the past month. From Lunar New Year events (Happy Monkey Year!) to the Highway 3 Twinning and Development Association AGM, I’ve been speaking with you and listening to your ideas. I hope you keep bringing them forward.

I would like to leave you with this: One of the most exciting things I get to do as your MLA is to hear what you have to say and who you think is outstanding. We are looking for incredible people who are absolutely unforgettable; people who have touched your life or the lives of others in a positive way; people who have made outstanding impacts on the provincial, national or international scene.

If you know someone who has done extraordinary things and stands the test of time, I invite you to preserve their stories for future generations, and encourage others to follow their lead by nominating them for the Alberta Order of Excellence honours. Nominations have been extended to March 18 and you can visit http://www.lieutenantgovernor.ab.ca/aoe/nominate, email aoe@gov.ab.ca or call Gayle Stannard, executive director, at 780-449-0517.

This column originally appeared in the Lethbridge Herald on February 12, 2016.