Your candidates for city councillor in the 2013 municipal election

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Ward 1

Ward 2

Nita Jalkanen Nita Jalkanen

Age: 47
Occupation: special marketing projects for an Alberta bank
Single, no children

Nita Jalkanen never thought she would run for council. But that changed earlier this year after witnessing what she now calls ‘“the end of democracy.”

Jalkanen paid Environics Research Group $5,000 of her own money to ask 300 Edmontonians about aspects of the arena deal.

Even though the majority of people surveyed opposed the use of taxpayer dollars, council finalized the agreement with the Katz Group on May 15.

“I just reached a personal tipping point, and I thought, no. that’s it,” she said. “I cannot sit back and watch something that I believe in, and that’s our system of democracy, no longer function.”

Despite her opposition, Jalkanen insists she isn’t running on the arena issue. Instead, she wants to focus her energies on correcting what she calls a disconnect between council and the will of the people.

She also wants the city to get back to basics and improve infrastructure like roads.

“These are just the foundations upon which our city is built and they’re important,” she said.

“And people want to get to and from work efficiently without $4,100 repair bills to their cars.”

Jason Millar Jason Millar

Age: 39
Occupation: manager for a trucking company maintenance facility
Married, two children

Jason Millar’s school-aged children are the inspiration behind his run for city council.

“I want the city to grow in a direction that enables my kids to enjoy living here and continue to live here,” he said.

Millar’s priorities are ensuring that Edmonton sustains its mature neighbourhoods by approving infill housing to attract new residents. 

He points out the city can’t afford to keep building new communities when it can’t maintain the ones that already exist.

Transportation is another part of Millar’s agenda. He believes the city needs to lobby harder to get the provincial and federal governments to help pay for the west LRT extension, which he says is needed for a growing city.

Millar thinks the city’s chronic pothole problem should prompt officials to investigate what’s causing them in the first place.

“We need to re-evaluate how we’re building our roads, and look for better ways to build our roads, so we’re not having to constantly refill potholes every year.”

Millar believes an audit is needed to find efficiencies in city administration

Shelley Tupper Shelley Tupper

Age: 53
Occupation: appeals officer with Canada Revenue Agency
Single, no children

For 25 years, Shelley Tupper has volunteered with organizations like the community league and community service advisory board in her Kensington neighbourhood.

“I have a passion for just wanting my community to be safe, to be clean, and just to have a good quality of life,” she said.

Tupper, running in her third election, says people in Ward 2 are worried about potholes and flooding, particularly after heavy rains taxed the drainage system.

As a transit user, Tupper knows the challenges of getting around Edmonton and thinks the city should work collaboratively with other regional municipalities to secure funding for LRT expansion.

“I think the more that we work together, the more that the provincial and federal governments will be willing to work with us,” she said.

“Not just we benefit but the whole region is going to benefit from having those funds there.”

Tupper also ran for council in 2007 and 2010.

Ted Grand Ted Grand

age:  55
occupation: Purchasing agent
Married, two adult children

Ted Grand says even though many people accept that the downtown arena is going ahead, they’re still annoyed with the lack of consultation.

“The one major thing I’m hearing, the constant theme, whether I’m in the south part of the ward or the north part of the ward, is that people feel a disconnect between city council and themselves,” he said.

Grand wants the city to accelerate the pace of road and drainage repairs by putting more money into the neighbourhood renewal program.

He also wants the city to make tougher choices at budget time. While he sees the arena as a want, he believes that LRT expansion is a necessity.

“You shouldn’t be slowing or stopping the city from becoming a place where people want to live,” he said.

“You need to build rec centres …. in new areas that need them,  you need to renovate rec centres in older areas that need them. It’s just part of developing a good city and a great city to live in.”

Ward 3

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Ward 12

Amarjeet Sohi Amarjeet Sohi

Age: 48
Occupation: City Councillor
Married, one child

In Amarjeet Sohi’s six years as a councillor he has watched public transit ridership rise fifty per cent. He said his biggest priority now is seeing the completion of the city wide LRT network.

“We want to create a city that is exciting for people to live,” said Sohi.

He said with the completion of the downtown arena deal, Edmonton is moving toward that vision.

Sohi said he played an important role in getting that deal. But, he said, he put a motion forward to ensure no infrastructure dollars are diverted from other projects to pay for that deal.

I want to continue to make sure that the vision we have for city continues,” he said, “and we build on the great foundation we have laid.”

Sohi said he’s also proud of the work he’s done to make Edmonton a more inclusive city, including opening the welcome centre at city hall and supporting emerging multicultural organizations.

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