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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Campaign Funeral?

So Election Day has come and gone, and I am not a new councillor at the table in Ward 1. And I am totally okay with that. I have always been a firm believer that everything turns out the way it does for a reason. I am just not suppose to be on council, so I will continue volunteering and working in the community that I love doing other things. But I know that I will still be watching every council meeting and talking about what is going on, that won't change.

The best way I can describe the last few weeks is like this, I feel like I got to attend my own funeral. For the last few weeks I have heard from friends I have not heard from in 20 years. I heard from old neighbours from when I was growing up in Mabou Harbour. I have heard from high school teachers, and my community of Fort McMurray cheered me on. My neighbours all asked for signs and told people to vote for me. People that I have worked with in Fort McMurray told me that they believed in me, and friends that I knew were friends all along told me they loved me and were proud of me. And my family, they door knocked, babysat, cheered, and stood with me through the whole experience.

On the first day of the campaign a wise man said, "Verna, at the end of the day when all is said and done, you will go home to your family, and that's all that really matters." And he was right. Tim has stood beside me for the last 20 years, and last night he stood in the kitchen and gave me a new beautiful book bag. He said that if I won, I could use it for council, and if I lost, then it's a sign I am suppose to be finishing up my book. And my three kids shed a tear or two and told me they were proud of me. How could I possibly ask for anything more than all this?

Tim and I have been through sickness, accidents, the loss of babies, the birth of babies, elections, moves, and we always manage to stay positive. This is just another part of the journey. In the last year I have won a Woman of Inspiration Award, a Gold Star Award for Media/Communications, had my first work published in a book, seen my kids grow older, and have been told by my husband almost every day that he loves me. I have grown a circle of friends that are the most loyal, wonderful bunch that you will ever meet in your life. I know that they have my back, and would never say a disparaging word against me. So in other words, I am truly blessed.

In the last few weeks, that circle of friends has grown. Some of the people that I admire the most in Fort McMurray have said they supported me, or believed in me. This has all made the loss just another great adventure in my life. I would not trade it or the people I have met for anything.

I do feel like I have let some people down, the ones that really wanted me to win and believed in me. But the only time I got a little upset last night was at the end of the evening, when I was standing alone with Tim, and I admitted that I felt like I had let the seniors in Fort McMurray down. In the last few years I have gotten to know many of our seniors, and they supported me through this campaign. And I hope that they know that I will continue to write and talk about their issues as well as all the other issues in Fort McMurray.

So thank you to everyone who supported me, in whatever form it was, I will never be able to say how much I appreciated it all. Every kind word will never be forgotten. And you know, there were even a few that I thought were friends that revealed that they did not believe in me, and even that is good. It's better to have true friends than someone who has an agenda. Those who know me, know that I just wanted to have a hand in making our community a better place to live, and I wanted to run a campaign that my kids could say they were proud to be a part of. I stayed true to my own voice, and I am happy with that today.

Best of luck to Colleen Tatum who won last night. With the downturn in the economy lately, council will have to make some hard decisions in the coming months and we need them to continue to be leaders and guide us through. Colleen was the voter's choice and I am sure she will take the position seriously, as she wouldn't have been running otherwise.

I will continue doing what I have always done, I will be part of my community and will continue working to help where and when I can. Thanks again!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Last push to Election Day.

It's the Friday before Election Day, I can't believe we are down to the last couple of days of the campaign already. Business first, you can vote at MacDonald Island tomorrow from 9a.m. until 8p.m. So if you are down there for hockey or the gym, please drop in and vote. Monday is the big day, you can vote at MacDonald Island, the Oilsands Discovery Centre, Holy Trinity(Timberlea) and Ecole St. Paul(Thickwood).  And Monday is the same time as tomorrow's poll.

It has been an intense few weeks, I never really felt like it was enough time, I wish I could have been able to knock on some more doors and meet some more residents of Fort McMurray. But it is what it is, and hopefully people will look at my work of the last eight years. I have written about almost any issue you can think of, and talked to more residents in those years than I ever thought possible. In doing all that work, and watching and studying council I have gained a huge amount of knowledge about how council works and what the residents that live here want from their council.

And now, it's up to the voters, and it will be all about who can inspire the most people to actually go vote. I would ask you to share this and encourage your friends and family to also get out and vote.

In the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with the fact that council seemed to not be listening to the residents. It has gotten better in the last 18 months or so, but I think we should be even more open and accessible. I want people to really feel connected with their representatives, and therefore their local government. I would like to join the other councillors who have started the meet and greets every quarter, and I will of course continue to use this blog and all my social media to keep residents informed of what is going on with council. Just as I did before the election for years, I will continue the same after Monday.

During this campaign I have had some support that has meant a great deal to me. I have had strong support from family and friends, and I have had support from people that I never would have dreamed would support me in my run for this council seat. I am proud that I have remained true to my word and my values, and I did the best I could with the resources I had. I wanted to share some of the emails that friends have sent out on my behalf, and please feel free to post your comments on why you will be supporting me at the polls on Saturday and Monday. Please drag your family and friends out to vote, as every single vote will help me win and put me in the position to be a strong voice in Ward 1.

Jon Tupper wrote the following email and sent it out to support me, he has been so generous as a friend, but also as a resource of information for me about everything during this campaign.

As I'm sure you know, there is a by-election for Municipal Council Ward One this coming Monday, March 30.  And as you know me, you know I'm a fierce advocate of democracy; it is the most important freedom we have.  Our voter turnout in Fort McMurray is always very low, especially in by-elections.  I just wanted to send a personal note encouraging you to cast a ballot this Monday so that your voice can be heard.  You can find the correct polling station by following this link: http://www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/Municipal-Government/Elections/Where-to-Vote.htm

Personally, I am supporting Verna Murphy for council.  I've known Verna for years as a friend and she is a strong advocate for our city.  She follows council closely and is passionate about municipal affairs; I don't think she's missed watching a council meeting in half a decade.  Verna also has the wisdom to pick up the phone and talk to people about issues, she is not a politician that wishes to be elected, she is a resident who wants to make sure our voices are heard.  Verna is also a very kind woman who has helped my wife and I out on numerous occasions.  She and her family are always willing to extend kindness to those around them and she is dedicated to our community.  Kindness and dedication are two traits which I admire most.

I sincerely hope to see you out at the polls on Monday if you have not already voted.

Yours very sincerely,

Jon Tupper

Vaughn Jessome and I have not always hit it off. At times over the years I thought he hated me, as he seemed to be so bossy and we fought often about my political comments. I am sure friends and family are laughing, imagine, Vaughn and I fighting.  But through our interactions, I gained so much knowledge about governance and the various responsibilities of the various levels of government. During this campaign, he has continued to push me, and I honestly doubt I would even be running if it wasn't for him. He has been an unbelievable support for me, and I can't thank him enough. He wrote the following post on Facebook: 

Good Day to All
You are receiving this message because you either live in Fort McMurray or know friends and/or family who live there and enjoy the community. Many second and third generation youth are now entrenched in Fort McMurray and doing their best to make it the best place to live, raise children and feel safe. Everyone who lives in this community plays a crucial role in its development and future planning.
I am asking you for your support in ensuring that the voices of those who care the most about our community be adequately represented on council which our community’s future is most often decided. How can you support me? By supporting VERNA MURPHY in the upcoming by-election which was required due to the resignation of a good friend of mine and yours, Guy Boutilier. Verna has called Fort McMurray home for more than 8 years and has been actively involved in community through organizations such as the Foster Parent Association, Sustainable Housing Transition Team, Community Advisory Committee (of which I was the Chairperson for 10 years) responsible for setting Yearly Policing Priorities as well as being the voice of the community relating to safety issues and working with the R.C.M.P. just to name just a few organizations she is involved with.
Verna is an award winning blogger who also wrote a column for the Fort McMurray Today, The Cape Breton Post as well as many other periodicals. Verna Murphy was also selected as a Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta’s Women of Inspiration in which they said (regarding Verna’s writings) “In (Murphy’s) articles, she is relentless in holding those accountable on the political stage,”.... “She has the ability to take a topic, investigate and put to words the thoughts that are far reaching.”
A vote for Verna is a vote for the community at large. A vote for Verna will yield you representation that has a knack for being persistent, knowledgeable and tenacious. Verna is someone who cares as much if not more than anyone else in our community.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
For those who live in Fort McMurray:
Send words of encouragement/support for Verna
Get out to vote and vote for Verna Murphy
“Like” and “share” Verna’s political page continuously (every time your share it translates in more votes as your friends will support your choices)
Speak to your friends and encourage them to do the same
For those who do not live in Fort McMurray:
Please “like” and “share” Verna’s page and content as much as possible. Encourage your friends, children and family living in Fort McMurray to do the same.
Every Vote Counts!! Every Shared post Counts!! Every conversation with your friends and family Counts!! Selecting Verna to represent us on council Counts!!
VOTE VERNA MURPHY FOR COUNCIL-RMWB
Verna Murphy Contact information:
Cell Phone: 780-838-1782
Email:vernamurphyforcouncil@gmail.com

I will continue to work through this weekend and come Monday, please remember to vote, your vote will help make a difference. I would also like to say a special thank you to Tim, Mitchell, Nathanial and Shayleen before this weekend goes into overdrive. Your support, and your belief in me has given me the confidence to attempt to win this seat. Tim, as usual, you are right in there with me, I really couldn't have tackled this without your support and help at home. Love you all so much, thank you. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What can I do as a councillor?

The last few weeks have been some of the most interesting ones that we have had as a family since we moved to Fort McMurray. I knew that when I decided to run for the vacant council seat that it would be intense and that it would be a lot of work. I feel like I am quickly running out of time, so instead of writing much of anything, I have been out every day knocking on as many doors as I physically can before Election Day on Monday. Even after doing it for almost six weeks now, I feel like I have barely made a dent, but I will keep pushing through right until the very last day.

Tomorrow you can go vote at another advance poll at Jubilee Centre(city hall) from 9a.m. until 8p.m. and then on Saturday you can vote at the last advance poll at MacDonald Island during the same times.

And then Monday is Election Day, and you can vote from 9a.m. until 8p.m. but the polls are different on Monday then they usually are, and I am finding a lot of people don't know about this change yet. On Monday you can only vote in four places:

MacDonald Island
Oilsands Discovery Centre
Holy Trinity Highschool(Timberlea)
St. Paul's School(Thickwood)

You can vote at any of the four locations on Monday, just make sure you bring ID. And if you are wondering about what ID is suitable, here is a link that covers the list of IDs you can use.
http://www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/Municipal-Government/Elections/Voter-Eligibility.htm

You must be 18 and a Canadian Citizen.

As we go into this final push before the big day, I cannot stress enough how every single vote is so important. So if you have children or relatives in town who are eligible to vote, please check in with them to make sure they have marked their "X", and encourage all your friends to do the same.

I have not missed watching a rural development, administration, budget and audit committee, or a council meeting in the last two years. I have been writing about Fort McMurray and all the issues for almost nine years now. For the last month or so I have been on leave from the paper while I campaign, and it's the first time in 9 years that I have not written a column every single week. I know the issues, I will be able to jump right into council business and I want the people of Fort McMurray to have a strong voice at the council table. A woman who understands that we have to help our community develop in the next few years, but also a woman who understands all the work that our social profit groups do in town and how we need to appeal to our families to stay and live in Fort McMurray. I will be so honoured to win that place on council, but I will not for one second take one single vote for granted, nor will I take for granted the time I will be able to spend on council. I will work hard every single day of that term to accomplish some positive things for our city.

The KPMG audit was done last year and it cost taxpayers $212,000. Out of that audit, there were 46 recommendations. We lacked policy and procedure on almost everything. We had no policy in place on how we acquire land, how expropriation is handled, how we hire and fire people, and how severance packages were paid out. We have all seen the mess that has been left because of these huge gaps in policy and procedure. One of the first things I want to do is put those recommendations on the agenda so they can be reviewed in public so that we, the taxpayers, know that these mistakes are being fixed. Once the structure of the municipality is dealt with, I truly believe that we will be able to attract developers and business people will feel more comfortable with investing more locally. With more services and infrastructure in place, families will be more attracted in moving their families here and our residential tax base will grow. But if we don't deal with those recommendations, we will keep repeating our past mistakes.

There will be no magic wand to fix everything overnight, it's going to take a lot of hard work, time and commitment on the part of council, administration and the mayor to get Fort McMurray moving forward, and I want to be part of it all. I want to sit at that council table and help with some common sense decisions that have to be made for our residents. Give me two and a half years on council and I will give it my whole heart, soul and mind for that time.

If you want to chat about any of the issues, please call 780-838-1782 or email me at: vernamurphyforcouncil@gmail.com.


Friday, March 13, 2015

The more you know about me the better!

Last Friday I wrote a blog that had a variety of facts about myself and my life. It was such a hit that I have decided to keep doing them leading up to Election Day. I will approach my job on council in the same way I live, I will always be approachable and open. 

-My first job was babysitting for some great families in Mabou Harbour. Throughout high school, I also worked at Mabou Gardens every spring/summer and through the winters and days off I worked at the Convent in Mabou. Yep, I worked in the kitchen at the Convent, and I still go visit the nuns when I go home and they write me letters. 

-Ironically enough, when I graduated and went to college and came home for the summer, I worked at the Glenora Distillery. The only distillery in North America to produce a single malt whiskey. I did the tours during the day, and then worked in the kitchen and pub. I can still tell you all about how to make a good single malt. 

-I am the oldest of four siblings. My two sisters live here in Fort McMurray, and my brother lives in Mabou, Cape Breton. They will probably tell you that not only am I the oldest, but the loudest as well.

-I attended St. F.X. University, and it is the biggest regret in my life that I did not finish the last year to get my degree from there. I had taken time off to have a bone marrow transplant, and thought at the time that life was too short to go back to school. I had every intention to finish the courses after a year or so, but never got back to it.

-I have a degree in hotel and restaurant management. And I have continued my education over the last 20 years with a variety of courses. 

-I was taught how to step dance by some of the best stepdancers in the world. No lie, I can do a mean square set. 

-I believe that we should be prudent in our spending right now in Fort McMurray, but we need infrastructure and development to attract and keep families in town. The operating and capital budgets will be undergoing a review over the next few weeks by administration and council, and I will continue to be vocal in our need for things like the North Side Rec Centre. 

-I am not a shopper. And my friends and family are laughing as they read that understatement. I have an event to go to this weekend, and the thought of spending money on a dress that I will only wear once or twice was not sitting well with me. So one of my best friends gathered up some dresses for me to try on to wear instead. I will spend taxpayers dollars the same, is it needed? Or is it something that we can defer or cut or find a cheaper solution. 

-I had a bone marrow transplant when I was 19 for a rare disease called Aplastic Anemia. So I have always been passionate about the bone marrow registry. You can do a simple swab of your mouth now to register to possibly save a life. You can read more at the One Match website here: 

-I played hockey and ringette up until I had my transplant, and then I worried about breaking a bone after that. I was obsessed in high school with stats on players. I knew every number of every player and all their stats from 1985 or so until again,  when my kids were born. LOL. Montreal has always been my team, with players like Mike MacPhee, Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy still being my all time favs. 

-From 1994 until 1997 I worked in the Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trade Council office, along with the Carpenters and the Plumbers and Pipefitters 682 offices. I learned from the best union leader in Cape Breton about unions in Atlantic Canada. Cliff Murphy is known across Canada for the initiatives that he made over the years, and I am blessed enough to call him my father-in-law. And in having him as my father-in-law over the years, you never got too far without having a conversation about what was going on in the economy, how it was affecting families and workers, both at home, and when they travelled for work across the country. 

-Cliff passed the tradition on, and Tim was a union leader in our region when he was the financial secretary for the then CEP 972(now Unifor). 
 
-And some fun facts about Tim and I. We were born on the same day, in the same hospital, and he says that he was winking at me in the nursery. He was Protestant and I worked at the Convent. We were the total opposites on so many levels. We started dating when I was bald and still sick post-transplant, and this year we will be married 20 years. 

I have no idea what this might pull out of me next week, but you can send me any questions, and we will continue to have fun with this on Fridays. 

To talk about anything or to ask me questions about my view on various issues in Fort McMurray, you can call my cell at 780-838-1782 or email me at: vernamurphyforcouncil@gmail.com.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Best story of the week!

I started to post this story on my Facebook, and I realized it was too good to shorten or edit. I will start with the back story. About nine years ago Tim(hubby) came to Fort McMurray for an interview, and the company paid for me to come out to see the city as well. At that point in my life, to fly out here was one of the longest times I had been on a plane, and by the time we landed my ears were killing me. We got our rental car, and randomly drove into Fort McMurray. After checking out some of the city, I was needed some tylenol, and told Tim to pull into the next drugstore. When I went in, I went to the pharmacist and asked if there was anything else that I could take that would be effective on the pressure in my ears. She asked where I had flown from, and when I said Halifax, she asked where I was from in Nova Scotia. When she said she was from Port Hastings, I was taken aback. At the time we were living on the Long Stretch Road, which was about four kilometres from Port Hastings. Her name was Joy MacLean, and when I got back in the car, I told Tim that the first person I met in Fort McMurray was from home, and she had the same last name as my maiden name. I was pretty sure it was a sign that I would be fine if we decided to make the move if there was such great people in town. 

Tonight, I went door knocking in Wood Buffalo, and a woman answered the door, and came out on the step to chat. She said she was from Cape Breton, and that we had mutual friends. One of her best friends is Cathy Burns, and Cathy had brought me cookies at Christmas time all the way from Cape Breton. When she said she went to school in Mabou at the convent I couldn't believe it. I had worked at the convent all through high school. I asked her if she knew Neil MacDonald from Port Hood, and Bernie MacLean? Yes she said, and I informed her they were my uncles. She named many others she knew, and we both wondered at how we had not met before.

I asked her what her name was, and she said, "Joy MacLean".  I couldn't believe it. After all these years, and all those mutual friends, I had not seen her since that first day in the drugstore. 

I have been trying to knock on as many doors as I can in Fort McMurray to connect with the voters, but I know I will not get to do as many as I would like to do. Knocking on that door tonight, and getting to share with Joy how she welcomed me to this city was like a full circle moment. She welcomed me, and without even knowing, made me feel like I would be comfortable here in Fort McMurray. And out of the thousands of doors that I could have knocked on, I knocked on hers, and she again encouraged me, and made me feel like I am on the right track. I am moving in the direction that I should be, and it was a great way to end the day. Thank you Joy, you are as beautiful as I remember, and I am so happy we were able to reconnect. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let's get personal.

I was debating what to write about this morning, I have been talking non-stop the last few days about my position on one issue or another, and getting questions that can catch me off guard at how personal they can be at times. So since it is Friday, and I promised a more personal blog earlier this week, I thought I would have some fun with some crazy facts that people seem surprised to know about me, mixed in with some of the reasons I am qualified to sit on council and help move our city forward in the next three years.

-I sit on the Community Advisory Board for the RCMP

-I have done recruitment for foster care in Fort McMurray for almost two years, and we still need more foster parents.

-We always had ski-doos and quads growing up, and I still miss not having one out here in Fort McMurray.

-Tim and I plan to buy Harleys when we retire and hit the highways.

-My dad always had bigger cars, and that's what I always drove, so I feel claustrophobic in tiny cars, especially in Fort McMurray.

-Through working with fostering, and volunteering for social profit groups in town, I have learned how to build, work and rework budgets confidently. But when Tim(hubby) was in a terrible accident two and a half years ago, and was off work for 10 months, one of the best lessons we learned was that we know the value of the dollar, and how to not just survive, but thrive in hard times. It might have been a very personal lesson for us, but it is something that I would take to council and remember when making hard decisions with the money of the taxpayers of Fort McMurray.

-Everyone loves asking about our little girl. Shayleen is Aboriginal, and she came to us the day after she was born. We love her biological mother, and she knows everything that goes on with us and Shayleen. I will be forever grateful that we were lucky enough to have this little girl in our lives, and she has touched so many people.

-I sit on the board for STHT, and it is one of the proudest things that I am part of in town. You can learn more about all the work they do on their website, but their workers are completely behind the scenes, and helping so many in our community. The board isn't out there doing all the work like the workers, but I am proud to say that I know all that they do, and they are angels here on earth. http://www.stht.ca/

-My father is a fisherman, who worked hard from sun up to sun down my whole life, and he instilled that work ethic into all of his children. If I had one day left on this earth, I would spend it on a boat, and I still miss the water.

-When I asked my two older boys to give me one line to describe me, they both said almost the same thing. They said their mother goes after what she wants and if it's something she believes in, she doesn't take no for an answer. She loves her children, and everybody else's kids. I had to laugh at that point, as I love having my house full of my kids and their friends, and I honestly cannot remember the last day that we did not have at least one extra child in our house for any length of time.

-One of the first things I will do on council is to start helping administration and council to implement some of the recommendations of the KPMG audit. It's not a glamorous topic, but it is absolutely imperative for those policies and procedures to be put into place so that we do not keep making the same mistakes over and over. There is still a shadow hanging over our city after all the resignations and pay outs were revealed, and we need to move forward, and start rebuilding relationships with businesses and the other levels of government. In my opinion, we need to work strongly and closely with our provincial representatives so that our voice is heard in Edmonton when decisions are being made for and about our community.

-I did palliative care work for 7 years in Nova Scotia as a volunteer. Sitting with those families and patients and helping with their care are memories that I still treasure more than any other. I really don't think I have done anything else in my life that was as powerful and humbling, and I am still honoured that those families shared those experiences with me.

-There is nothing I hate more than getting my picture taken or doing a camera interview.

-I am not always politically correct(especially when our foster kids are involved), I am not suave and polished, I'm just myself, and I think I am one of the most approachable people you will ever meet.

-I would rather volunteer in the kitchen in the back then be at a table at a gala, it's just where I'm my most comfortable.

-I am absolutely wrong sometimes, and will admit when I am, and when making decisions I don't think anyone on council should allow their ego to help guide their decisions. And I feel the same way about anyone who is in a position of affecting community members, or general public, your ego should not be at play in that process.

-I never make any list without including Matt Minglewood. I love him, I have since I was 7, he is an amazing musician, but over the years I have realized he is an even more wonderful human being. His wife, Babs, is probably one of the best managers in Canada, and I have been lucky enough to call them friends for years now. And a list is never complete without Matt.

-People keep saying I am nice, like it's a bad thing. I believe politicians can be nice, and be effective in their jobs. I have met many in the last few years. But don't confuse being nice with a lack of drive or bite. I will not back down on issues I believe in, I will work for solutions that will work for the community, and I am never afraid of asking anything. I will ask if it is uncomfortable, or just to clarify information. And we have seen that we need to continue to do that on council as well.

-I love monster trucks, like the real monster trucks, stock cars, demolition derbys, and all that kind of stuff, and would love to see more of those events come to our region.

-I love driving down the hill to concerts at MacIsland, and I can't wait for Shell Place to open and see some bigger acts come to town. My favourite so far was Great Big Sea years ago, and of course, KISS was a once in a lifetime kind of thing, as it was the first rock concert we took the boys to.

-Life is serious, and council is serious, be we can't always take ourselves too seriously. So that's why I wanted to have a little fun with this today. I may do it every Friday until the election.

-I grew up in Mabou Harbour, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. And yes, there is a huge difference between the Harbour and West Mabou, and Northeast Mabou, and the village. It's stunning there, and everyone should visit Cape Breton to have a complete life.

-Oh, yeah, and I love red wine and Elvis, but those are totally out there for anyone to see on my FB.

 -This is where I grew up.

And I love to talk, so call me! My cell is 780-838-1782. And please vote, it's so important. I will keep reminding everyone of the days, the first Advance Poll is at City Hall on March 18th. Just bring your ID.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Where do I stand?

Now that the race is underway, I have 28 days to get my message out to the residents of Fort McMurray. I have been vocal on the issues through my writing for a number of years now, and have always loved talking to the residents who live here about what they want for their hometown. So on many issues, I have already written columns or blogs about many of them. But over the next 28 days I will be very specific about my platform.

Over the last 18 months there has been a lot of change in our city, to put it mildly. We had several new council members added to the table during the last election, and they came in with questions about the spending of our taxpayers money. The questions and audit were not always easy, and when salaries and expenses started coming out many were shocked at the waste that seemed to be wide spread. But the council and budget and audit committee stuck to finding out many truths, and I was proud of the work that they did for us. From the KPMG Audit, 46 recommendations were made. Policy seemed to be lacking at every level, as was communication. But these recommendations were so needed, and council now needs to move forward on implementing them so that the huge gaping holes where we seemed to be bleeding money can be fixed. I want to be on council  to continue to push for the implementation of these 46 recommendations. So first and foremost, I would say that I want to continue the current culture on council of fixing what we now know is wrong. But while we can be fiscally responsible, I don't want to continue to drag our feet on capital projects like the North Side Rec, with one exception.

The Downtown Entertainment Centre was a project that was never greeted with overwhelming public support. The expropriation process that started the whole process is still being questioned and many feel that the city is not listening to the residents about this project. In the last month, I have realized that this issue is one of the first things that voters still want to talk about. Many are saying that they do not want the Centre built in a location that is not liked, with money that is not available. And some feel very strongly that it should not be built at all given the current calls for fiscal restraint. I know that there are legal issues with the expropriation process, but the developer, Clearwater, is already saying that they also will need $10 million a year for the next 30 years, instead of the initial 7.5 million that was earlier projected. So some hard decisions, and more conversations should take place before any more decisions are made on moving forward on this project.

There are other issues that I will talk about and let people know about during the campaign, but there is one more that I would like to touch on briefly, and that is our relationship with the province. I think even though we are different levels of government, it is imperative to work together more closely, as we all have common interests in our community. I am happy that they have been able to recruit Dr. Ngene, a much needed new OBGYN. And I think if council and the MLAs of our region show a strong united front we might be able to progress on some other issues as well.

Finally, I wanted to point out that to your right, I now have a link so that you can donate to my campaign. Every single dollar goes into a separate account and you will be issued a receipt. You have to have an Alberta address, and I would love your support. Of course, I know that everyone might not have an extra dollar, so there are other ways you can support me that are so easy! You can take a sign(but they're in high demand, so let me know soon), you can come door knocking with me, attend one of my coffee/wine events, you can take some brochures/cards to hand out, and even just sharing all my posts/blogs, etc, will help me, and I will forever appreciate every single thing that you all do for me.

Continue to watch for posts on my platform, questions that I have been asked, and all my other news as usual. Below is a picture of me filing my nomination papers this morning in Chambers. This is where I want to be sitting after Election Day on March 30th. My cel is (780)838-1782 and my email is: vernamurphyforcouncil.gmail.com


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Let the excitement begin.

That's what I want for the next 28 days, excitement. I want people to feel like they are a part of something big in Fort McMurray. I want them to commit to do an act that will change my life and their own And I want them to do just one thing, vote for me on March 30th.

My kids are all in bed, as his my husband, and I am sitting here like a kid at Christmas thinking about not just the next 28 days, but the weeks and months after March 30th. I will be part of council, I will be part of the decision making, I will be part of all the great potential that is Fort McMurray, and if you live in Fort McMurray, I hope to be part of your lives as we get to know each other.

I think of myself as a mom, a wife, a writer, a sister, a daughter, and so many other things, but I have never thought of myself as a politician. My desire during this campaign is to be your representative. I want to hear your stories, your concerns, I want to meet your kids and hear why you want more for our community. I want to visit your business and talk about the challenges you are facing.

Many keep asking why I want to do this, and I want to be in there doing something over not doing anything. I want to be a strong woman who knows the issues, but knows the people that those issues are affecting, that is even more important to me. Because when you start making decisions that are not based on the betterment of the people that you are representing, then you are not doing your job.

I hope to hear from you, I am sure you will get sick of me, lol. My cel is (780)838-1782, feel free to call me, my email is vernamurphyforcouncil@gmail.com. I think that when you meet someone running for office you get a better understanding of who they are and what their ideals are, so please feel free to connect with me. And of course, I love Facebook, so you can look me up and add me there too, either on my regular page, or on my Verna Murphy For Council page. But I have nothing to hide, I am always myself, which may inspire some wine posts and some posts about subjects that I am passionate about. But I think I'm an average woman in Fort McMurray, who loves to talk to people, and has tried to make the community better in my own ways for many years, and really, none of that will change when I win. I hope you join me on the campaign trail, and we are going to have some fun! And hopefully, since it's March, I will have a bit more of the Irish luck as well!