When local voters cast their ballets this Oct. 18 for the municipal election, two long-standing names won’t be on the list.
Malcolm Fischer and Al Campbell have decided to call it a day after many years of service on Town council
Campbell has plenty of experience when it comes to local governance, having served 26 years on council and before that, he served for nine years on the local school board.
“I guess I’m pretty proud of the town of Stettler,” he said. “I was born and raised in a city that was about 15,000 or 16,000 people, but this has been my home since 1968. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born here, but smart enough to have my kids born here,” he added with a laugh.
“It’s a good place to raise kids – there are good educational facilities and excellent recreational facilities.”
Campbell also pointed to the Town’s administrative staff as being a major plus when it comes to how things are run in Stettler.
“From the mayors on down – I’ve never had a bad mayor that I’ve sat on council with,” he recalled, adding that one of the major highlights of his time in service has been seeing the positive and productive relationship between the County and the Town.
“Now, we have that common trust and that (impacts) the entire community.”
Clearly, Campbell’s longevity on council shows tremendous support from the voters time and again.
“I think it’s been enough time. Am I going to miss it? You’re darn right I am. You meet so many really, really good people. That’s what I’m going to miss, is the camaraderie.
“People have told me that I’m honest, and that I don’t sugar-coat something – if something comes up that isn’t good, I’m not afraid to say so. This is why some people have told me that they vote for me,” he explained.
“I’ve always been approachable – when I was in business, people could certainly come in any time and chat.
“Your not going to make everybody happy, but I think we’ve tried to have good leadership with the administration,” he said.
He also recalls hearing years back how residents wanted a rodeo and a parade.
“We hadn’t had a rodeo for about 15 or 20 years.”
Campbell was eventually told that if he wanted a rodeo around here, he could go and start one.
Through talks with other locals, things came together and a tradition was started.
He was also integral to helping to launch the annual local pheasant festival as well.
“I’ve also always been a proponent of the wide streets – every since the day I first drove into Stettler in mid-February of 1968, I have loved that main, wide street! Some people have thought we should have trees down it, but I say not on your life,” he added with a chuckle. “Those wide streets are a (selling point), I think.”
For Fischer, he always had his eye on stepping back after three terms of services.
“I always said, if the people will have me I will do three terms,” he explained. “Then it will be time to move aside and let the chemistry of the group change.
“I don’t feel like it’s a job ‘undone’ – I just feel like I have made my contributions. And we have so many capable people around here – we need to get some of them on council over time, and on the committees, too.”
In looking back, Fischer said it’s certainly been a fulfilling venture from the word ‘go’.
And having a great team to be a part of has also made it that much more of a meaningful and productive chapter in his life.
“The first thing that struck me after I was on for awhile was the quality of the staff that the Town has,” he recalled. “There is pride with the organization. When I talk to some other councillors about some of the stuff that goes on all over Alberta in other councils, ours isn’t like that. I’ve just been really impressed with the calibre of people on council, and how they really care about the residents.
“When your mind can switch from ‘me’ to ‘we’, that’s when you are ready for council,” he added with a chuckle.
“I haven’t known of many (councillors) where it’s just a ‘job’ – they have really cared about the town, and so that is the kind of feeling I picked up really early on. That culture was here before me, and certainly will be here long after.”