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Andrew Kooman: If leadership is service, how do you intend to serve Red Deer if elected to council?
Tara Veer: It has been my great honour over the past six years to represent the people of
Red Deer on City Council. I have worked diligently to address citizen concerns
that have been brought to my attention, followed through on commitments I made
in previous election campaigns, and have made the best possible decisions I
could on behalf of the people I have had the great responsibility and privilege
to represent. As in previous terms, I would like to continue to put the people
of our community first and serve as a strong advocate & voice on their behalf.
In addition to the formal roles, expectations & responsibilities of being a City
Councilor, I firmly believe that elected officials need to give the position &
influence entrusted to them back to our citizens, and therefore wherever possible
I give of my time, energy and other resources in support of many worthwhile
charities and not-for-profit organizations in our community.
AK: If leadership is vision, what’s yours for the city of Red Deer?
TV: My vision for our community is to use the position and sphere of influence
entrusted to me by our citizens to enhance the quality of life of all Red Deerians.
The following constitute more specific thoughts on issues of concern that have
been expressed to me by members of our community:
On Our Local Economy, Taxation & Utility Charges
I am a fiscal conservative and would like to continue to work hard to ensure
that our residents & businesses are not faced with oppressive tax increases in
order to sustain Red Deer’s growth and quality of life by: ensuring responsible
spending with the financial resources entrusted to city council, diversifying the
tax base, defending alternative revenue sources, and debating all elements of
our capital & operating budgets in light of the recessed economy.
I have a growing concern for the cumulative impact that increasing utility
charges and other city user fees are having on households & businesses
in addition to the tax burden, and believe that utility budgets needs to be
debated more thoroughly in order to ensure their affordability for our citizens.
On Public Safety and Crime Prevention & Control
I believe in a twofold approach to ensuring public safety and effective crime prevention & control, namely by maximizing preventative measures and ensuring a timely and meaningful response if or when criminal activity does occur.
I believe that we can make significant gains in preventing and controlling
crime by focusing on the drug trade and taking so-called “minor” crimes
seriously. All crime is unacceptable, and tolerating “minor” crimes
compromises community standards and enables major criminal activity. I
refuse to abdicate our public and private spaces to illegitimate activity, but
believe that there are practical and effective ways to uphold public safety.
I believe in establishing bylaws that regulate our community in a way that
demonstrates respect and fairness for law-abiding citizens, while deterring
and penalizing those who disrespect and undermine democratically
established community standards.
I am concerned about general transportation pressures, particularly as lack of
adequate & holistically planned road infrastructure has compromised traffic
flow and how stressed transportation corridors have diminished public safety
& increased urban noise.
I support public policy & planning that respects all modes of transportation
in our infrastructure and development plans, namely pedestrian & bicycle
commuting and incents increased use of our public transit system.
On Our Environment
I am committed to the protection of all aspects of our environment, and
believe the City needs to demonstrate leadership in initiatives that preserve
environmentally sensitive & naturally significant areas, encourage water &
energy conservation, protect & improve air quality, and diversify & enhance waste diversion.
On Planning, Development & the Future of Our Growing City
I believe that downtown revitalization is a key investment in the quality of
life of all Red Deer citizens and will help further position our community as
a tourism destination as well as diversify & strengthen our local economy.
I am committed to working with our Red Deer County neighbours to ensure
the short & long term viability of our community. I believe in public policy that
reflects the urban and rural composition of our community by ensuring that
our bylaws & service levels are mindful of the needs & challenges of both
urban & rural residents.
On Our Community Development
I am concerned about many social issues that have increased in both
prevalence and complexity in conjunction with Red Deer’s growth. I am a
strong supporter of social initiatives that respond strategically, address root
issues and provide meaningful and compassionate solutions.
I believe that the City of Red Deer needs to partner with not-for-profit groups
as well as private & corporate citizens in order to see many proposed
community recreation & culture projects move forward.
On Ambulance & Fire Response
I am a strong advocate of Advanced Life Support ambulance service for our
citizens and am deeply concerned about how the shift to regional ambulance
service may/will potentially degrade the standard of Emergency Services our
citizens have enjoyed, namely by compromising ambulance travel time &
responding with Basic Life Support instead of Advanced Life Support. I also
believe we need to be vigilant in ensuring that regional ambulance service
does not shortchange our fire resources and potentially compromise our fire
service and public safety.
AK: If leadership is listening, what are Red Deerians saying?
TV: Generally speaking, Red Deerians often express great appreciation for how
fortunate we are to be living here. Having said that, there is much that can and
needs to be accomplished to make Red Deer even better. Citizens often express
concern that the quality of life we appreciate and have grown accustomed
to in Red Deer is slowly eroding & that the cost sustain our quality of life has
grown oppressive and they fear that they need to explore opportunities in other
communities in order to be able to afford the standard of living their family has
enjoyed in Red Deer in the past.
In preparing my campaign platform, my hope was to synthesize what Red
Deerians have been saying for the past few years, as well as those issues
that are emerging. Please refer to question number five and/or for further
details about my thoughts and/or positions on the issues and concerns that
have been verbalized by Red Deer citizens, please visit my candidate profile
on the Red Deer Public Library’s online forum, www.electionforum.ca.
AK: Why are you perfectly suited, at this time, to represent Red Deer?
TV: I am confident that my vision for our community and ability to make
sound “common sense” decisions on behalf of the people of Red Deer is further
strengthened by the experience and history that I would bring to a third term
in public office. Our city is at a critical juncture and there are many issues on
the public agenda that the next council will need to weigh & debate with great
consideration. Red Deer is a small city on the cusp of becoming a large city, and
the decisions of the next council will manifest themselves for many years to come
in our community.
I believe there is much that can and needs to be accomplished to make Red
Deer even better, and I hope to be given another mandate from our public to help
make that happen. If entrusted by you with another mandate on your council, I
will continue to serve our community to the best of my ability and will maintain my
commitment to govern with integrity.
AK:. What do you think are the greatest challenges for the city of Red Deer at this point in the city’s history?
TV: As mentioned above, Red Deer is at a critical juncture and the current &
upcoming issues on our public agenda will influence our City and Red Deerians
for many years to come. I am particularly concerned about the challenges
the City and our private & corporate citizens are faced with as a result of our
recessed economy, the future of our ambulance and fire emergency response,
the impacts of recent and proposed annexations, and key public safety,
transportation, environmental, and development decisions the next council will
debate. For further details about my thoughts and/or positions on these issues,
please visit my candidate profile on the Red Deer Public Library’s online forum,
AK: What is your connection to the city? How did you end up here?
TV: I was born & raised in Red Deer. I grew up in Normandeau & on an acreage
near Rosedale, and respectively attended Aspen Heights Elementary &
River Glen School. I attended Red Deer College for a couple of years before
transferring to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I moved back to Red
Deer after University because Red Deer is where I wanted to pursue a career
and raise a family. I absolutely love our community and the citizens that make
Red Deer such a great place to live.
AK: What do you do for fun?
TV: I am an avid reader & thoroughly enjoy running & rollerblading throughout our
trail system, landscaping & gardening, entertaining & cooking, and spending time
with family and friends.
AK: What clubs, groups, or organizations are you a member of (or connected to) and why are you engaged with them?
TV: I am currently the Executive Director of Living Stones Church, so I invest much
time serving the people of our church family as well as our community at large in
As mentioned above, wherever possible I also give of my time, energy and other
resources in support of many worthwhile charities and not-for-profit organizations
in our community. I am particularly passionate about issues & causes directly
affect and/or improve the quality of life for women, children & marginalized
I am very thankful for the investment that many people and organizations in
our community have made into my life, so I want to give back and make similar
investments in others as an expression of my gratitude.
AK: Who inspires you and who would you like to emulate?
TV: My pastor & leadership mentor challenges me every day to become a better
person & greater leader. His life of consistent integrity, deep compassion for
people, personal discipline and commitment to doing the right thing regardless
of the personal cost has inspired me to do likewise. He exhibits and encourages
perseverance to keep moving forward even though the results might not be
visible in the short-term, that it is always the right time to do the right thing, and
that we will rarely err in demonstrating kindness to one another.
AK: If you could accomplish 1 thing as a City Councilor, what would it be?
TV: While there are any number of issues that I would like to work with our citizens, other members of council and our city administration on to help shape our city’s future for the better, generally speaking my hope is that I would initiate and/or support public policy that is debated in a transparent & democratic manner, is respectful & mindful of the broader, best interests of the general public, and that is highly responsive & accountable to our citizens. I am committed to making decisions in the interests of the public I serve rather than for personal political gain, and to providing citizens with services, bylaws & policies that will enhance the quality of life of all Red Deerians.
For the How and Why of Andrew’s interview + links to interviews with Mayoral and other Red Deer City Council Candidates go here.