by Lindsay Ducharme
While much can change in a year and a half, Veronica Doleman’s passion and commitment to Fort McMurray have remained consistent. Faced with the news that she could have another shot at securing a council seat, Doleman said the choice was simple.
“To hear I would have another opportunity to try, I thought about it for maybe a day, and then I said I have to do it, there’s no way I can’t. I still have that passion, I’m still involved in the community and I still want to make a different type of impact and I think being on council I could do that.”
Another aspect that has remained unchanged between elections is Doleman’s platform.
“A lot is similar to the 2013 election. Communication for me has still been an issue, so I’m making sure that I’m going to continue to be available on social media using Facebook and Twitter as ways to communicate with residents,” she promised.
In addition, Doleman is bringing back her popular “Ask Veronica” YouTube segment, a weekly video that answers questions from residents. Doleman stressed that should she be elected, her communication practices will remain in place.
“If I am successfully elected, that will continue once I am a councilor. So it might be talking about experiences at community events, or certain decisions made in council chambers and explaining why I voted that way. Councilor’s Corner is something that’s currently happening in Fort McMurray but right now it only includes three councilors. That’s something, when I’m a councilor; I want to be involved in. I would like there to be a rotation because if I want to talk to someone face-to-face that would probably be the easiest avenue to get a hold of them, knowing that they are in a certain location at a certain time.”
As an early education teacher and former president of the Boys and Girls Club, Doleman wants to provide support for families in any way possible, both young and old.
“I am still astounded about the number of births we have in our community every month. This growth is being felt in childcare spaces, early childhood programs, as well as facilities that cater to young children. There simply isn’t enough to go around. The average age of Fort McMurray is early 30s and that means that there are a lot of young families. I believe council has a place in advocacy and supporting our families to have choices. Whether that be birth choices, choices in child care spaces, and the choice of a variety of family friendly activities. For this to happen we need the space, we need funding, and we need a commitment. At the other end of the spectrum we have our seniors. Ensuring that all family members have adequate care should be a focus of the community,” she stressed.
Though her priorities remain similar to that of the 2013 election, Doleman recognizes a change within the community as a response to the drop in oil prices. She explained that while the city has seen the affects of downturn, it is not something the region has not experienced before and as such she hopes council will learn from past mistakes.
“We need to make sure we are continuing the development of plans. So, things like the Northern Rec Centre. We budgeted for this project so let’s continue on that path and make sure it gets built because families aren’t leaving Fort McMurray. We’ve had a lot of lay-offs of people who are fly in fly out, but the families are still here and we still need those things built so we aren’t paying catch up again when the price of oil soars,” she stressed.
While Doleman was not elected to council during the 2013 election, she more than held her own in an extremely competitive ward, a success she attributes to her commitment to remain true to herself and her beliefs. A commitment she plans to honour during the current election and beyond.
“I think my passion isn’t so much for politics, it’s more of a passion for the community. After the (2013) election some people asked why I thought I was so successful, especially for a first timer, and I think it’s because I was honest and I didn’t follow those prescriptions of what you should do, what the handbook says, I just went with what felt right. I was honest with people about my views on certain things and people responded really well to that.”
For more information on Doleman’s platform and to view or participate in “Ask Veronica” like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter (@veronica4ymm) or subscribe to her YouTube channel Veronica4ymm.