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Rawson wants one more term in Division 1

Rochester area incumbent on the ticket for second run
20210911 Dwayne Rawson_SUB_WEB
Former RCMP detachment commander Dwayne Rawson jumped into politics after retiring. He has represented Division 1 in the Rochester area for one term and is hoping for a second.

ATHABASCA — One more and plan for succession. 

Dwayne Rawson, a retired RCMP member, has put his name on the ballot one more time for Division 1 in Athabasca County, which covers the Rochester and Perryvale area, saying he has no intention of being a career politician and believes at some point, no matter who you are, there comes a time to move on so new blood and ideas can move in. 

“I'll be brutally honest, as a detachment commander ... you go there with your own ideas and you make some changes, but you have a life expectancy where it's time to move on and let other new ideas come in because if you don't have new ideas come in, you stay stagnant,” said Rawson. 

“I put my name in this time to run again; there's a few things I still think I got to offer, but then after that running two terms is it for me, it'd be a lot because I do support getting new ideas in there.” 

The first time he ran was shortly after his retirement from the RCMP, where he had plenty of interaction with various town and county councils. 

“The first time I ran was after retiring and I wanted something to do and it was an opportunity to work with communities. I have, in the past, worked with lots of councils as a detachment commander. I've worked with a lot of councils through the places I policed at and it’s just something to be part of the community and be involved in the community.” 

He said he wants to focus on streamlining the processes and using the tools council has been given. 

“I like to focus more on efficiencies and effectiveness and what I mean by that is, for example, setting priorities for road construction,” he said. “We did a road study, so based on a road study that was completed, and not an individual councillor; we paid money for that road study, let's adhere to it.” 

As to how the county will recover from the pandemic and the province's downloading of costs onto municipalities – Athabasca County will be facing over $600,000 in policing costs shortly on its way to $2 million – he couldn’t commit to how it will be handled. 

“The new budget will be coming up here ... in the fall so, I'm not going to comment whether or not it's going to be tax increases or not just yet, but if everything keeps going up taxes will go up. (Services) have to be paid for somehow.” 

He added roads are a No. 1 concern and No. 2 is bringing in tourism to add to the economy of the region. 

“I try and promote Athabasca County as well as Rochester as much as I can and I think it's really important that you draw people here from the cities,” he said, adding the Rochester Ag Society has plenty of ideas once mandates are lifted. 

Another issue Rawson wants addressed is ensuring councillors don’t overstep and direct staff. Councils hire a CAO and the CAO makes all staffing decisions, but he feels sometimes council can blur the line. 

”Councils shouldn’t direct staff; you’ve got one employee,” said Rawson. “Give that person the tools they need to successfully run the county. Let them do their job.”

Rawson will face two challengers in Division 1, as Joe Gerlach and Buster Malcolm will also be trying to earn votes for the Oct. 18 election. 


Heather Stocking

About the Author: Heather Stocking

Heather Stocking a reporter at the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly paper in Northern Alberta. Heather covers all aspects of the news in and around Athabasca and Boyle as well as other small communities.
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