Spirit of small-town Alberta evident in spring air

Being back on my farm in Altario allows me to get my feet back down on the ground physically and metaphorically.

Being back on my farm in Altario allows me to get my feet back down on the ground physically and metaphorically.

It’s also great to be back in the Drumheller-Stettler constituency. It’s great to be back, because it’s my home. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and I’m sure most of you will agree that it’s very much that way, especially when you live in this part of the world.

This time of year is also like an awakening across east-central Alberta.

On schedule, with seeding done, the spring rains seem to bring everything to life, including the spirit of small-town Alberta. Across the constituency, I have been lucky enough to experience several different celebrations recently which are the highlight of my day every single time.

The centennial celebrations in Acadia Valley and Drumheller held recently were something I very much enjoyed. I love seeing the pride the people have in these wonderful communities — it’s always awe-inspiring.

The graduations I have had the honour of attending are without fail something that reminds me of all the new beginnings that seem to go hand-in-hand with this time of year.

The business of the Legislature can be very mentally and emotionally taxing. There’s the hustle and bustle of caucus meetings, question period and many hours of debate that seem to consume every waking moment. As important as those things are, the meetings with constituents who are the driving force behind an elected MLA are the most important.

All the ridings across the province are where the information comes from that forms the Wildrose policies. I believe those will help create a more financially and socially stable Alberta. These policies are live policies. They’re something that we never stop working on. Society never stops changing and evolving so neither should good policies.

The Alberta government has focused a lot of their discussion on what they refer to as the infrastructure deficit, to justify their plunging us back into debt. In the mean time they seem to be ignoring the social deficit they’re creating with such moves as the massive cuts to the PDD (Persons with Developmental Disabilities) program.

At the meeting I attended in Drumheller on June 6, associate minister Frank Oberle said, “If you need services in Alberta, you will get services.”

That hardly seems logical, with program funding being cut by $42 million, which equals half of the funding for the program.

This summer, I’m looking forward to travelling the constituency, meeting with the people and discussing how we can work toward doing what’s best for Alberta. The input of the taxpayers all too often is overlooked when decisions are made these days.

As your MLA, I feel it’s part of my responsibility to make sure the input of the constituents of Drumheller-Stettler is always considered first in every decision I make.

The summer will be filled with meetings, forums and celebrations of all kinds where I will have the opportunity to meet a large number of constituents. If by chance you happen to be at one of them, please, just call me Rick.

— From the Legislature

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