At just 21-years-old, Isaac Skuban is already considering a life in politics and the vacant seat on Westlock County council is his first step along the way.
Skuban joins Mary Ashton-Groulx, Lori Latrielle and David Woynorowski as the four Sept. 17 byelection hopefuls trying to fill the seat of Division 5 councillor Darrell Osmond, who resigned from the position June 25.
"I've been in the county my whole life. I worked at the Tawatinaw ski hill for five years growing up as a ski and snowboard instructor. I've worked as a summer student at the county, so I've seen a lot of what goes on at the county," said Skuban, adding that he has now stepped away from the ag services job with the municipality to run in the byelection.
"For the past two years I've been in economics and political science at MacEwan so I've been doing that and I think I have the experience to be a councillor. I was originally planning to run at the end of my degree, but Darrell Osmond resigned and the chance came up so I'm going to take it."
Skuban said he really enjoys public service and is also a volunteer firefighter with Station 4 out of Clyde. As an economics student he also enjoys working with numbers and finding efficiencies.
"People don't like that their taxes are increasing, but I think the big problem is the county has a revenue problem, just as much as it has an efficiencies and spending problem. We keep relying on taxes as a source of revenue," said Skuban.
"You have to budget for that. You can't just expect or hope that your revenues start going back up again because otherwise you're just being reactive to the economy. You've got to be proactive and that's a big part of my platform."
That platform includes three main planks, said Skuban -- transparency, consultation and accountability. If he wins the contest, he said he may put plans to finish his degree at the University of Alberta this coming year on hold or may consider taking night classes.
"I need to be accountable to my employers which are Westlock County residents, so I need to be available to them full time," he said.
Skuban said he recognizes the need for economic development in the municipality and how important it is to attract those from outside the immediate area to the county. Recreation is one way to do that and as such Skuban plans to get behind a proposal to build a gun range within the county's borders.
"A lot of people have been really positive about the idea because it brings revenue into the county. Gun ranges are a pretty big thing in rural Alberta and a lot of people have said they would buy memberships. It attracts people from all over the province depending on what kind of gun range you build," he said.
"The county needs to be more open to ideas like that. Even if you can't put money into it, you can put your resources and connections into it to support the people that are passionate about something in their community."
Skuban said he looks forward to working with the current council and bringing forward "progressive and ambitious ideas." He also looks forward to reaching out to as many residents as possible during the campaign and afterwards if he is lucky enough to capture their vote.
Communicating directly with residents in person and on the telephone is one strategy, but Skuban said he would also like to open up social media channels with residents if he is elected.
"At the end of the day I have a lot of faith in the ideas I have and a lot of residents have given me ideas and supported them, so I think that's good enough to run on and I think I'll run a bit of a different campaign focused on the future because I think we need that on council instead of the status quo."